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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego

VIII.  The Problem and the Answer 8-15

8. Beautiful child of God, you are asking only for what I promised you. Do you believe I would deceive you? The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Believe that the truth is in me, for I know that it is in you. God’s Sons have nothing they do not share. Ask for truth of any Son of God, and you have asked it of me. Not one of us but has the answer in him, to give to anyone who asks it of him.

9. Ask anything of God’s Son and his Father will answer you, for Christ is not deceived in his Father and his Father is not deceived in him. Do not, then, be deceived in your brother, and see only his loving thoughts as his reality, for by denying that his mind is split you will heal yours. Accept him as his Father accepts him and heal him unto Christ, for Christ is his healing and yours. Christ is the Son of God Who is in no way separate from His Father, whose every thought is as loving as the Thought of His Father, by which He was created. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for thereby you must be deceived in yourself. And being deceived in yourself you are deceived in your Father, in Whom no deceit is possible.

10. In the real world there is no sickness, for there is no separation and no division. Only loving thoughts are recognized, and because no one is without your help, the Help of God goes with you everywhere. As you become willing to accept this Help by asking for It, you will give it because you want it. Nothing will be beyond your healing power because nothing will be denied your simple request. What problems will not disappear in the presence of God’s Answer? Ask, then, to learn of the reality of your brother, because this is what you will perceive in him, and you will see your beauty reflected in his.

11.  Do not accept your brother’s variable perception of himself for his split mind is yours, and you will not accept your healing without his. For you share the real world as you share Heaven, and his healing is yours. To love yourself is to heal yourself, and you cannot perceive part of you as sick and achieve your goal. Brother, we heal together as we live together and love together. Be not deceived in God’s Son, for he is one with himself and one with his Father. Love him who is beloved of his Father, and you will learn of the Father’s love for you.

12. If you perceive offense in a brother pluck the offense from your mind, for you are offended by Christ and are deceived in Him. Heal in Christ and be not offended by Him, for there is no offense in Him. If what you perceive offends you, you are offended in yourself and are condemning God’s son whom God condemns not. Let the Holy Spirit remove all offences of God’s Son against himself and perceive no one but through His guidance, for He would save you from all condemnation. Accept His healing power and use it for all He sends you, for He wills to heal the Son of God, in whom He is not deceived.

13. Children perceive frightening ghosts and monsters and dragons, and they are terrified. Yet if they ask someone they trust for the meaning of what they perceive and are willing to let their own interpretations go in favor of reality, their fear goes with them. When a child is helped to translate his “ghost” into a curtain, his “monster” into a shadow, and his “dragon” into a dream he is no longer afraid and laughs happily at his own fear.

14.  You, my child, are afraid of your brothers and of your Father and of yourself. But you are merely deceived in them. Ask what they are of the Teacher of Reality, and hearing His answer, you too will laugh at your fears and replace them with peace. For fear lies not in reality, but in the minds of children who do not understand reality. It is only their lack of understanding that frightens them, and when they learn to perceive truly, they are not afraid. And because of this they will ask for truth again when they are frightened. It is not the reality of your brothers or your Father or yourself that frightens you. You do not know what they are, and so you perceive them as ghosts and monsters and dragons. Ask what their reality is from the One Who knows it, and He will tell you what they are. For you do not understand them, and because you are deceived by what you see you need reality to dispel your fears.

15. Would you not exchange your fears for truth, if the exchange is yours for the asking?  For if God is not deceived in you, you can be deceived only in yourself. Yet you can learn the truth about yourself from the Holy Spirit who will teach you that, as part of God, deceit in you is impossible. When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made. And then your Father will lean down to you and take the last step for you, by raising you unto Himself. [1]

Jesus calls us beautiful, and we are beautiful because we are Sons of God.  We were created by God to be like Him.  There is no deception in this.  There is God in us because His Kingdom is in us.  When we believe that the truth is in Christ, we must also believe that it is in us – whether we recognize it or not.  Reality is this:  God created you and He created me.  He created the world, and all that is in it.  And He created it good, He created it one with His Kingdom, He put Himself into Creation and Creation was part of Him.  All of us know this and yearn for the perfection of the Kingdom of God.  We miss it.  Born in this world, we know that this is not our home, that this flesh is not what we are, and that the things that happen here are a fright.

We all share in this yearning for God’s Kingdom, for our Father, for the love and joy and peace of brotherhood. While we try to find a sense of it here in our families, communities, churches, clubs, and so forth – no matter how happy it may seem, there is always a level of viciousness and spite running through encounters in this realm.  Where did God’s Kingdom go?  And how do we get there?  We all have the answer within us because God’s Kingdom is within us. 

When we accept that we are the Kingdom of God, that we are Sons of God, we have accepted and recognized the Christ within us. Christ is the resurrected Jesus that stands for each one of God’s Son.  The human Jesus was not very different from the rest of us.  He did not have a halo around his head; He did not have an aura; He ate, and so we can assume he urinated and defecated.  He was loving sometimes and other times not so much.  He made mistakes just like you do and just like I do.  The only thing that was different about Jesus was that He did not forget Who and What He really was.  He may have had a body, but he did not identify with the body.  His mission was similar to the mission we all have – to remember who and what we really are and to live this in the world so that other people also recognize their Sonship. 

Christ teaches that we are not here to separate ourselves from our brothers, we are here to recognize them as Sons of God.  We who have accepted Christ and have recognized our Sonship do not get to fly away with Jesus and leave the Brotherhood behind.  God is not our King; He is our Father.  God is not a deceiver, a killer, a tempter, or a respecter of persons – God is Creator and all that He creates is good.  In paragraph nine, Jesus tells us to accept our brothers – not with the ego’s version of them, but with the Christ version.  Refuse to see our brothers as sinners, as adulterers, as fornicators and thieves, liars and killers, and it follows that we will see them as they were created.  Deny all the lies that would lead to death; for we proclaim only the One Way that leads to Christ.  When we accept our brothers as God accepts His Sonship they are healed.  Because we have been as Christ to our brothers, we are healed.  Their healing is our healing; our healing is theirs. 

This reminds me of a movie I watched on Amazon Prime last night called “Fishbowl.”  The theme of the drama serves as a good example of our text today.  The father’s drunkenness had caused a terrible accident that killed his beloved wife and mother of their three beautiful daughters.  Everybody in the community turned against him except his daughters, who remembered who and what their father really was.  They knew that the accident was not the result of a vicious killer but a mistake from an otherwise loving, faithful husband and father.  When they attended church, the parishioners stared with hate-filled, reproachful eyes at him.  The preacher finally asked the father not to come anymore, to give the people in the church time to get over their anger and spite toward him. 

Time passed, and as he struggled alone and tormented with his remorse and self-hatred, he fell under the sway of one of those doomsday prophets…I won’t go on and say anymore here in case you want to watch the movie yourself, but how much different this story would have been if the preacher and the congregation would have accepted the father as Christ rather than as the devil.  Instead of asking him not to attend church anymore, the preacher could have led his followers in healing rather than in separating themselves from the would-be sinner in their midst.  By allowing their ego version of the fellow to determine their response, they were deceived not only in him but in themselves and in God. 

In God, no deceit is possible.  When we see others as sinners and ourselves as saved, when we see ourselves as Sons of God and others the spawn of the devil, we deny who and what we are, and we deny Christ and we deny God.  This is the message that Jesus is giving us today as I understand it, as I read it, as my heart and my mind are lifted in stillness and I ask for truth.    

When we accept our own wholeness we must accept our brother’s wholeness.  Only when we accept his healing can we accept our own.  This protects the Sonship, does it not?  This protects us from falling prey to such beliefs that to be saved, we must abandon those we love who do not

 believe in Jesus and who do not go to our church or interpret their Bibles in the same way we do.  This takes the burden for souls off our shoulders and puts a song in our heart for we are not compelled to go out and try to get people to believe that they can be special like us and go to heaven and leave everybody else behind. 

No matter how sinful or wicked our brothers claim to be, we know the truth about them because God knows the truth about them, and they are God’s Son whether they know it or not.  We cannot be a Sonship without them.  We can finally truly love ourselves for we cannot love ourselves and leave anybody out.   When we recognize our wholeness and oneness, we correct the damage to the Sonship.  We heal together as we live together and love together, Jesus says in paragraph 11. 

Many times throughout my life, when I would go to God to complain about a lover, friend, coworker, or relative– the Voice for God within me would remind me that God loved them and did not want to hear anything but the best about them.  Once when I was about six years old, I overheard my mom and dad talking about how they wanted Barry Goldwater to win the election.  I was sitting in the backseat of our car and I bowed my head and prayed fervently for Mr. Goldwater to win and Mr. Johnson to lose.  Even before I finished praying my prayer, my heart was telling me that this was not a prayer that concerned God.  No matter who won the election, God would still be God and that was all that mattered, my inner voice informed me.  That was well over fifty years ago and that message still rings true in my heart and mind today.  To let the things of this realm get us worked up and deny the spirit of brotherhood to all is not the way to God.

We are to take this realm as a dream, to laugh happily at the fear that it would arouse in us – for this is not our home nor does it have any lasting value.  Its only value is to teach us its unreality.  Our worst nightmares in this realm are simply nightmares.  They are designed to make us afraid of one another, afraid of God, and afraid of ourselves.  We do not have to be deceived by them.

When we ask Holy Spirit for the perception of Christ, we can laugh at all that would otherwise make us tremble.  Jesus urges us to grow up, to deny any version of God which is frightful and mean and terroristic. We are to accept God as our Father, loving and creative, not spiteful and destructive.  Just because someone tells us that something is holy and true does not mean that it is.  In that movie I watched last night, the doomsday prophet was very convincing.  He said with great authority that he knew when the world was coming to an end and he knew how to save those who would believe in him.  He called his visions holy.  He wrote gospel tracts and printed pamphlets and compelled his followers to spread the word.  He used the bible to back up his assertions.  He used fear and false promises to prey upon the vulnerable.  

God’s Voice is within us.  When people demand that we interpret the bible the way they interpret it, when people tell us that certain events in the world landscape indicate the return of Christ or the Last Judgment, when people try to get us to follow them and put curses upon us if we do not swallow their particular line of reasoning – we can go to the Voice for God within and ask Holy Spirit to show us the way.  God replaces our fear of each other with a love for one another that the world simply cannot understand.  When I recognize you as my brother, as one with me in Christ, I can no longer judge you, fear you, or condemn you.  I cannot call you a fiend, a monster, a son of Beelzebub when I know you as you are.  Christ informs me of your reality when I give no place to what the ego would make you out to be.  Instead of being afraid of you I love you, and you love me, and we are healed of our disease.    

We end this chapter, and we end this section with paragraph 15 with the question: “Would you exchange your fears for truth if the exchange is yours for the asking?”  Each one of us must answer this question for ourselves.  We cannot blame the decision we make about this on our parents, teachers, or preachers.  We cannot blame it on our political leaders or our social groups.  We can only know God and know who and what we are in God by asking for Holy Spirit to teach us the truth as individuals.  When we come to God without our traditions, without our religious teachings or holy texts, without any preconditions or conceptions, we cannot be deceived.  For we ask in Spirit and we ask in Truth and it is only in this way we cannot be deceived.  It is only in this way we can accept the Real World in place of the false one we have here. 

When we come to Him in peace, with no hidden agenda, no need to be a favorite or have a special blessing, with no need to tell Him what He is or what we want Him to do in our life, God leans down and brings us up and we are one with Him.  And this is the answer to every question, every problem, every lack.  For in Him is all knowledge, all comfort, all we ever were and all we will ever be. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. VIII The Problem or the Answer 8-15. 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 11 God or the Ego

VIII.  The Problem and the Answer 1-7

  1. This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it.  Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realize that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.
  2. The Bible tells you to become as little children. Little children recognize that they do not understand what they perceive, and so they ask what it means. Do not make the mistake of believing that you understand what you perceive, for its meaning is lost to you. Yet the Holy Spirit has saved its meaning for you, and if you will let Him interpret it, He will restore to you what you have thrown away. Yet while you think you know its meaning; you will see no need to ask it of Him.
  3. You do not know the meaning of anything you perceive. Not one thought you hold is wholly true. The recognition of this is your firm beginning. You are not misguided; you have accepted no guide at all. Instruction in perception is your great need, for you understand nothing. Recognize this but do not accept it, for understanding is your inheritance. Perceptions are learned, and you are not without a Teacher. Yet your willingness to learn of Him depends on your willingness to question everything you learned of yourself, for you who learned amiss should not be your own teacher.
  4. No one can withhold truth except from himself. Yet God will not refuse you the answer He gave. Ask, then, for what is yours, but which you did not make, and do not defend yourself against truth. You made the problem God has answered. Ask yourself, therefore, but one simple question: “Do I want the problem, or do I want the answer?” Decide for the answer and you will have it, for you will see it as it is, and it is yours already.
  5. You may complain that this course is not sufficiently specific for you to understand and use. Yet perhaps you have not done what it specifically advocates. This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application.  Nothing could be more specific than to be told that if you ask you will receive. The Holy Spirit will answer every specific problem as long as you believe that problems are specific. His answer is both many and one, as long as you believe that the One is many. You may be afraid of His specificity, for fear of what you think it will demand of you. Yet only by asking will you learn that nothing of God demands anything of you. God gives; He does not take. When you refuse to ask, is because you believe that asking is taking rather than sharing.
  6. The Holy Spirit will give you only what is yours and will take nothing in return. For what is yours is everything, and you share it with God. That is it’s reality. Would the Holy Spirit, who wills only to restore, be capable of misinterpreting the question you must ask to learn His answer? You have heard the answer, but you have misunderstood the question. You believe that to ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit is to ask for deprivation.  
  7. Little child of God, you do not understand your Father. You believe in a world that takes because you believe that you can get by taking. And by that perception you have lost sight of the real world. You are afraid of the world as you see it, but the real world is still yours for the asking. Do not deny it to yourself, for it can only free you. Nothing of God will enslave His Son whom He created free and whose freedom is protected by His Being. Blessed are you who are willing to ask the truth of God without fear, for only thus can you learn that His answer is the release from fear.[1]

Today we will review the first seven paragraphs of The Problem and the Answer, finishing the last eight paragraphs in the next post.  In paragraph one Jesus tells us that while it seems obvious that only reality is true, we still do not realize that what we perceive with our flesh senses is not reality at all, but a crude mix of truth and untruth which makes it entirely impossible to distinguish between the two. 

It is not until we perceive the Real World, and again I capitalize this, because for me the Real World is such a profound and utterly transformative encounter.  The condition of reality is simply a willingness to see past all that is not true, all that is not right, all that is not God in one another, in all of Creation, in God Himself.  When we will with Holy Spirit, we collect and save only the Good, the True, the Righteous.  Everything else has no interest for it is a lie, it is not real, it is part of the fictional kingdom that opposes the real one. 

Just as we could never test and tempt our little children with a curse or a poison, nor do we blame their innocent mistakes upon them and make them bow down to us and bring us blood offerings to make up for their “sins,” neither are we to think those things of our Father, for this would make us afraid of Him.  This would make us walk about on our tippy toes, afraid to piss Him off, afraid that He would cast us out, afraid that even though He is the One Who was nice enough to bring us into existence, He is also the One mean and angry and spiteful enough to make our existence so miserable and miserly that we would wish death upon ourselves.   

Plainly Jesus tells us to surrender our know-it-all egos and become loving and trusting like children, believing the best of their parents.  A truly treasured child does not fear his parents but looks to his parents for everything he needs and wants.  He expects his parents to meet his needs, not to become viciously irate.  When little children make a mistake, they expect their parents to kindly correct them with patience and by example, not burn their little hands or cut off their feet or threaten to castrate them.  These are the things that maniacal, deranged, and fearful parents do and when our parents treat us like this, we are ashamed of them, we are afraid of them, and we cannot truly love them or respect them.

We must be very careful when we read this Course, when we read the Bible, when you read my blog or I read yours, that we ask Holy Spirit to reveal the truth in it and only save what is true.  Jesus tells us to always ask Holy Spirit for the true interpretation of what we are accepting as guidance and truth.  For only Holy Spirit’s perception is true. 

When we recognize that not one human thought, not one human endeavor, nothing that we can perceive with our flesh eyes is wholly true, this is our firm beginning.  It is not as if someone else led us astray.  Intentionally or not, that which is flesh is no guide at all!  We simply fail to understand anything until we accept our inheritance, until we accept our worthiness, our Sonship with our Father, our Brotherhood with Christ.  Until we learn to question everything we were ever taught, everything we read, everything we were told and bring it to Holy Spirit and ask for the Light of Christ to shine in our minds and give us the truth, we are looking to the wrong teacher. 

There was no magical time in history when humanity had an “in” with God.  There are no magical prophets who had more of the Kingdom of God within them than you have in you or I have in me.  God would not be God if He distributed Himself unequally among His Sons. 

When we ask for truth, God gives us truth.  When we put down our perceptual reality and admit that we cannot know the truth as long as we perceive with our flesh eyes and depend upon our human understanding, when we go beyond our perceptual realm to the Source of all that is, to the core of our very Being, we find the answer to all of our existential angst. 

Do we want the problem, or do we want the answer?  Do we want the sorrow, or do we want joy?  Do we want fear, or do we want love?  When we decide for the answer, we will have it.  It was always there waiting to be recognized – as the perceptual world dims and fades away, the Real World becomes manifest. 

This Course can be no more specific.  Until we are willing to do what Jesus teaches us, we are merely playing with the ideas.  We are saying, “Oh that sounds good, yes, that rings true.  I’ll bet that is the way it really is…”

I take the Course to mean what it says.  As long as I want to be specific and make it about me, Holy Spirit will answer everything I ask Him about troublesome encounters, ego-triggers that are aroused in me by my special relationships, the grudges that I have a particularly hard time putting down on the inner altar.  Every response I get to specific questions is always the same though it will take the form of the personal.  It is the One answer.  I do not have to be afraid of what Holy Spirit asks of me for He gives to me but never takes anything away.  When I give Holy Spirit the grudge I have held against you for all these years, He took nothing away from me, but He shared the love He has for you with me.  Now instead of feeling resentful and remembering all the ways you disappointed me and seemed to take advantage of my good nature are gone!  I love you.  I remember how much joy you brought into my life.  I cannot imagine having lived my life without your merry little ways and your spritely courage and the fun times we shared.  

When I gave all my grudges against my mother to Holy Spirit, He took nothing away from me, but He gave me my mother!  While she may serve as an extreme example of those who devote their lives to a hurtful image of God, she remains the mother that God gave me to teach me the things I needed to know about the perceptual world.  My love for her and her love for me is eternal.  This love is what we bring to God’s Kingdom.   The reality of my mother is her love, kindness, tenderness and joy.  This is what Holy Spirit gives to me.  At any given time I can revisit the ego version of my mom; but that version is dark and void – it has no light and no truth.  It has no draw for me because I have set her free as I have been set free.

Learn to trust entirely in Holy Spirit for this is the way we recognize our true Selves in Christ.  Holy Spirit is our inheritance as God’s Son.  Holy Spirit is our Higher Guidance System which our limited understanding would oppose out of ignorance and fear.

As we learn the wisdom of Holy Spirit we could no longer be content to think of ourselves as unworthy of God.  Our whole state of consciousness rises to Sonship.  We are no longer to accept a groveling, servanthood position in God’s Kingdom because this was a false position to begin with.  We are Sons of God, whether we accept Christ now or we accept Christ later, nobody gets away for we are a brotherhood.  Our place in the Kingdom is not the servants’ quarters, but we are one in God and in Christ.  There is not above and beneath – these are all ego concepts that pertain to this realm but certainly not to God’s Kingdom.  These ideas belittle us and belittle God in our own minds.  We cannot expect others to buy into that which belittles us for even when we are unaware of Sonship in our lives, as Sons of God we recognize what is unworthy. This is the reality of Holy Spirit.  As we come to Him without our egos, without a sense of fear that He will ask too much of us and take something we love and cherish away from us, we realize the Father’s love. 

When we think that God is going to deprive us of our happiness, it is because think that we get what we want by taking away from others.  We still believe in the perceptual world instead of the Real World.  No matter how much we fear and rebuke and cast judgment upon the perceptual world, the Real World is ours for the asking.  It is the answer.  We can bark about how much money this one has and that one has and say what we would do if we had that much money, but we will never have that much abundance as long as we are barking at and yapping about inequality and unfairness and social issues that are the consequence of the perceptual world.  If we make the perceptual world our home we will never find happiness, we will always misunderstand and hold one another and God accountable for what we perceive. 

The Vision of Christ is ours for the asking.  Be willing to see past all the good and bad, the rich and poor, the black and white, the Jew and Gentile, the saved and the lost, the narrow path and the wide path – and see only the One way, the Only Way.  There is no slavery or servanthood in God, there is no Queen and drones and worker bees in God’s Kingdom.  We are free and our freedom is protected in God – for we are the attributes of God.  Today be blessed by your willingness to ask the truth of God without fear – for this is the only way we can learn that His Love is the answer to every question, and every obstacle. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. VIII The problem and the answer 1-7. 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 11 God or the Ego

VII. The Condition of Reality

  1. The world as you perceive it cannot have been created by the Father, for the world is not as you see it. God created only the eternal, and everything you see is perishable. Therefore, there must be another world that you do not see. The Bible speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, yet this cannot be literally true, for the eternal are not re-created.  To perceive anew is merely to perceive again, implying that before, or in the interval between, you are not perceiving at all. What, then, is the world that awaits your perception when you see it?
  2. Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving. And being loving they are like the Father, and therefore cannot die. The real world can actually be perceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them.
  3. The ego may see some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely, for that you could not accept. But it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion, you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy, you tried to create unlike your Father, believing that what you made is capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything true is like Him. Perceiving only the real world will lead you to the real Heaven, because it will make you capable of understanding it.
  4. The perception of goodness is not knowledge, but the denial of the opposite of goodness enables you to recognize a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this is the condition of knowledge. Without this awareness you have not met its conditions, and until you do you will not know it is yours already. You have made many ideas that you have placed between yourself and your Creator, and these beliefs are the world as you perceive it. Truth is not absent here, but it is obscure. You do not know the difference between what you have made and what God created, and so you do not know the difference between what you have made and what you have created. To believe that you can perceive the real world is to believe that you can know yourself.  You can know God because it is His Will to be known. The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.[1]

The question continues today in our devotional text:  Do we choose God or do we choose ego.  Do we say that God created Good and Evil, or do we say that God created only what is good and deny all evil?  Do we say that God gave us Life and gave us Death, or do we say that God gave us only life and life eternal?  In our text, Jesus tells us that God created only that which lasts forever.  The Mind of Christ which is each one of us tells us the same thing for we know in our hearts, no matter how much we try to deny it, that we are far more than the human form that defines our being in the perishable world.  If God created a world and it was all good, where did it go?  Where is the world that hosts the eternal?  Jesus tells us that it is a matter of perceiving.  How willing are we to deny the corruption that we made of creation?  How willing are we to look greed, lust, violence, decay, destruction, and death square in the face and deny its power to hurt us?  How willing are we to turn our back on what we made and accept only the eternal as true?

It is important that we pay particular attention to the first sentence of paragraph two. It is too easy to discount the power of loving thought, but Jesus tells us that our loving thoughts are eternal, and our loving thoughts are the only reality in this perceptual world.  It is love, peace, and joy and all the other wonderful attributes of God which are eternal, whether they appear in a dream or in reality.  Anything that is of love is of the Father and cannot die.  It is through our love that we see the Real World.  This is the world without opposition.  This is the world without opposites to reality. When we are willing to see only that which is good, that which is loving, lovely, and true we see the Real World. 

This is not some pie in the sky philosophy.  This is not a practice that just anybody can choose to do on their own.  The world as we see it now is seductive.  It so wants to mean something.  The world of opposites aims to spin its web forever.  It wants to take itself into outer space and set up the same kind of unrestful colonies there as it has on our inner space.  As long as we are willing to perceive the world of opposites, we are unable to distinguish between truth which is forever and lies which have no eternal value.  We will give equal weight to the false because we think it is true and then we will want to go to war against it, which only perpetuates the spin we have put on things. 

If we bring this concept down to a personal level, we can enjoy true and loving relationships only when we believe the best about our brothers.  As long as we are finding fault with them, reacting to the negative things they say and do with anger, condemnation, and attack therefore giving that which is false about them equal weight with what is true about them – we will have unholy relationships.  Sometimes we will feel loving and sometimes, if not most of the time – not so much.  Our feelings will change toward each other depending upon our moods, our behaviors, our words, and our opinions about things in general.  No matter what relationship we find ourselves in – no matter how much our opinions match about things, no matter how much we are alike – as long as we are willing to see not the best in each other – there will always be something in which the ego can pin its petty spite on about the other. 

As easy as it would be to blow this off and complicate the matter of seeing reality, as being holy, as entering into the eternal Kingdom with a bunch of rules, rites, and rituals – it is simply our sincere willingness (not necessarily doing-ness) to perceive nothing but the loving in the world. 

The ego could not survive even in the temporal world if it rejected goodness entirely for nobody would accept that!  Think of the world with no goodness at all. We would be so busy hating and despising each other that our flesh would be devoured out of existence.  So ego relies on goodness to keep it going, but it adds something to what is real that is not real at all thus confusing the issue.  As long as I believe that you are both good and bad, I cannot tell what is true about you.  Our perceptions then can never judge anything or anybody in truth because we will not be able to separate the truth from the fiction in any way that makes sense.

It is very disturbing to be around someone whose conversations revolve around dismembering separate facts and forming judgments about the stories they make up about them.  This is a way in which the ego establishes a sense of separateness in our lives.  Instead of creating in wholeness and truth, we break things down into separate bits and shattered pieces and end up with a collage of fiction that we embrace as truth – about each other, about creation, about God Himself. 

All that is lovely and of good report is like God.  We do not have to dissect it and go looking for faults, sins, and dig up stuff from the past about others to discount their goodness.  We do not have to point to their greed, their lack of empathy, their unwillingness to give to charitable organizations.  We simply accept goodness as the only reality there is – all that is not good about me has no reality to you or to me just as all that is not good about you is none of my business.  We are simply not interested in anything about each other except what is Godly, because our godliness is the only thing about each other that has any meaning. 

When we are willing to do this and only this, when we start practicing this in our relationships and in our perceptions of the world, we are practicing for the Kingdom, we begin to perceive the Real World as it was created.  This is the path to God.  There is nothing magic about it.  There is no idolatry involved.  We simply begin to perceive goodness and goodness alone for to perceive anything else is to let that which is not of God take the place of God in our minds and in our hearts and dim the light of Christ in our lives. 

We learn then, in this topsy-turvy world full of clamor, chaos, and calamities galore, to meet a condition in which opposites do not exist.  This is the condition of knowledge.  Knowledge is obscured to our awareness as long as we believe that there is any power, any meaning, any purpose for that which is not love, for that which is not good, for that which is not God. 

This world as we perceive it with its constant newsreel of that which is not peaceful, loving, or joyful is a conglomeration of all the ideas we have come up with that opposes our Creator.  We make the world we perceive.  And then we believe in it.  Jesus tells us that truth is not absent in the world we made; it is just obscured by that which opposes it. 

And so we live in a state of confusion between what we made of the world and the world God created.  We do not know the difference between what is a lie about us and what is the truth about us.  To believe that we can see the Real World is to believe that we can know ourselves – and God wants us to know ourselves as He knows us, not as we have made ourselves to be. 

The Real World, (and I capitalize this) is all the goodness, the love, the peace, the joy, that we created and brought to the Kingdom.  This, and this alone is what Holy Spirit collects and saves about us in this realm because it is the only thing that remains real about us.  It is the only thing worth saving!  Holy Spirit does not collect our dirty thoughts, our wicked deeds, or the ways in which we fail one another and therefore God.  As we align ourselves with Holy Spirit, we do the same thing.  We collect and save only the beautiful and the lovely about each other.  We collect and save only the God in each other.  This is our salvation – for it is a recognition that what is not of God can never take the place of what is of God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. VII The condition of reality. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego

VI. Waking to Redemption

  1. It is impossible not to believe what you see, but it is equally impossible to see what you do not believe. Perceptions are built upon the basis of experience, and experience leads to beliefs. It is not until beliefs are fixed that perceptions stabilize. In effect, then, what you believe you do see. That is what I meant when I said, “Blessed are ye who have not seen and still believe,” for those who believe in the resurrection will see it. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works and ascends to the Father and His Kingdom.
  2. Would you join in the resurrection or the crucifixion? Would you condemn your brothers or free them? Would you transcend your prison and ascend to the Father? These questions are all the same and are answered together. There has been much confusion about what perception means because the word is used both for awareness and for the interpretation of awareness. Yet you cannot be aware without interpretation, for what you perceive is your interpretation.
  3. This course is perfectly clear. If you do not see it clearly, it is because you are interpreting against it, and therefore do not believe it. And since belief determines perception, you do not perceive and therefore do not accept it. Yet different experiences lead to different beliefs, and with them different perceptions. For perceptions are learned with beliefs, and experience does teach. I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny. Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with Him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you. Let the Christ in you interpret for you, and do not try to limit what you see by narrow little beliefs that are not worthy of God’s Son. For until Christ comes into His Own, the Son of God will see himself Fatherless.
  4. I am your resurrection and your life. You live in me because you live in God. And everyone lives in you, as you live in everyone. Can you, then, perceive unworthiness in a brother and not perceive it in yourself? And can you perceive it in yourself and not perceive it in God? Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. This is as true now as it will ever be, for the resurrection is the will of God, which knows no time and no exceptions. But make no exceptions yourself, or you will not perceive what has been accomplished for you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of God’s Son as his Father created him.
  5. Do not underestimate the power of the devotion of God’s Son, nor the power the god he worships has over him. For he places himself at the altar of his god, whether it be the god he made or the God who created him. That is why his slavery is as complete as his freedom, for he will obey only the god he accepts. The god of crucifixion demands that he crucify, and his worshippers obey. In his name they crucify themselves, saying that the power of the Son of God is born of sacrifice and pain. The God of resurrection demands nothing, for He does not will to take away. He does not require obedience, for obedience implies submission. He would only have you learn your will and follow it, not in the spirit of sacrifice and submission, but in the gladness of freedom.
  6. Resurrection must compel your allegiance gladly because it is this symbol of joy. Its whole compelling power lies in the fact that it represents what you want to be. The freedom to leave behind everything that hurts you and humbles you and frightens you cannot be thrust upon you, but it can be offered you through the grace of God. And you can accept it by His grace, for God is gracious to His Son, accepting him without question as His Own. Who, then, is your own? The Father has given you all that is His, and He Himself is yours with them. Guard them in their resurrection, for otherwise you will not awaken in God, safely surrounded by what is yours forever.
  7. You will not find peace until you have removed the nails from the hands of God’s Son and taken the last thorn from his forehead. The Love of God surrounds His Son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain.  Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of God’s Son is the work of the redemption, in which everyone has a part of equal value. God does not judge His guiltless Son.  Having given Himself to him, how could it be otherwise?
  8. You have nailed yourself to a cross and placed a crown of thorns upon your own head. Yet you cannot crucify God’s Son, for the Will of God cannot die. His Son has been redeemed from his own crucifixion, and you cannot assign to death whom God has given eternal life. The dream of crucifixion still lies heavy on your eyes, but what you see in dreams is not reality. While you perceive the Son of God as crucified, you are asleep. And as long as you believe that you can crucify him, you are only having nightmares. You who are beginning to wake are still aware of dreams and have not yet forgotten them. The forgetting of dreams and the awareness of Christ come with the awakening of others to share your redemption.
  9. You will awaken to your own call, for the call to awake is within you. If I live in you, you are awake. Yet you must see the works I do through you, or you will not perceive that I have done them onto you. Do not set limits on what you believe I can do through you, or you will not accept what I can do for you.  Yet it is done already, and unless you give all that you have received you will not know that your Redeemer lives, and that you have awakened with Him. Redemption is recognized only by sharing it.
  10. God’s Son is saved. Bring only this awareness to the Sonship, and you will have a part in the redemption as valuable as mine. For your part must be like mine if you learn it of me. If you believe that yours is limited, you are limiting mine. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because all of God’s Sons are of equal value, and their equality is their oneness. The whole power of God is in every part of Him, and nothing contradictory to His Will is either great or small. What does not exist has no size and no measure. To God all things are possible. And to Christ it is given to be like the Father. [1]

Just as seeing is believing, we cannot see what we do not believe.  Our sight in the perceptual world is built upon our experiences in it – our experience in the perceptual world leads to our beliefs about and towards the perceptual world even as our experiences in the spiritual domain lead to our beliefs about the spiritual domain.  When our beliefs become fixed – our perceptions become fixed –our belief systems then determine what we can see and instead of believing when we see, it will become believing what we see. 

So then in Christ’s resurrection, we will perceive the resurrection.  We will know the complete triumph of Christ over the ego.  Christ does not war with the ego, in Christ we rise above the ego to our Father and to our Kingdom.

Are we part of the crucifixion or do we join with Christ in the resurrection?  Do we condemn others, or do we set them free?  Will we transcend the bondage to ego and return to God’s Kingdom?  Each of these questions are based upon what we choose to see and to believe.  There is no reason to be confused about perception.  The term perception is used for awareness and is also used for the interpretation of awareness.  But we cannot be aware without interpretation, for what we perceive is also our interpretation of what we see.  If I perceive you as my friend, I have perceived you and interpreted you as a friend.  My perception of you is also my interpretation of you.  If I perceive you as a foe, I have perceived and interpreted you as a foe.  Again my perception of you is also my interpretation of you. 

Jesus is asking us to transcend the ego’s perception of the crucifixion and resurrect with Christ, transcend the condemnation of our ego perception and set our brothers free, transcend our bondage to the suffering of Christ and ascend to His magnitude and glory in God.   He is asking us to change our interpretation of salvation in order to change our identification in Him.  Instead of causing the suffering and shame of Christ, we join Him in extending the magnitude and glory of God through His resurrection and through His love. 

This course makes it perfectly clear that our perceptions are learned by our beliefs.  I can only perceive you truly with the perceptions of Holy Spirit.  If I look at you through the ego’s eyes my perceptions of you will be clouded by my beliefs that I have about people who look like you, talk like you, smell like you, act like you.  My perceptions of you will be based upon whether you are a man or a woman, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are fit or unfit, whether you are black or white, Chinese, Japanese, or Canadian.  My perception of you is learned by my beliefs about people who are like you.  My beliefs are made by my experiences or the experiences of others who have taught me what I can expect of people like you. 

Jesus is leading us to a new kind of experience that we will be far less likely to deny.  As we learn to perceive through the vision of Christ we experience no strain at all.  Perceiving with Christ is our natural awareness – it is the ego’s distortions that wear us out, cause a lot of strain and stress, and keep us at each other’s throats.  When we let the Mind of Christ interpret for us, we are no longer limited by our lower minds which are not worthy of God’s Son.  When Christ is formed in our minds, we will no longer be willing to crucify or condemn each other for any reason for we will recognize ourselves as the Brotherhood of Christ, as mutual Sons of God. 

Christ is our resurrection; He is our life.  Our life is in Christ, our life is in God, our life is in all of Creation even as all of Creation is in us.  What I perceive in you then is what I perceive in myself.  What I perceive in myself I perceive in God.  The resurrection has been accomplished in us; the resurrection is the Will of God, which is beyond time and beyond exception.  We simply cannot perceive this reality if we deny a place to our brothers – for we must all go together to the Father.  This is as we were created. We do not return to God carrying the cross, the condemnation, the guilt and shame and sorrow of the ego perception.  We return to God – resurrected with Christ.  Freed from the bondage to the ego perception which would make of us miserable sinners, we return to God whole and complete – as His Son. 

Do not take lightly the power of our devotion to the crucifixion or to the resurrection.  We place ourselves at the altar of the one we choose.  When we choose the ego’s version of salvation we will be slaves to crucifying others, condemning them, denying them a place in God’s Kingdom.  We will say that God is a God of sacrifice and pain and fear – we will project all of the ego’s bloodthirsty calls for suffering and sorrow unto God and our spiritual paths will be a burden to us, full of questions, doubts, and uncertainty.  Our God will let us down time and again and never live up to His promise for He will be changeable, chancy, and catastrophic.  The blame and shame of our humanity will be laid upon us and we will never escape no matter how much we call forth for the blood of Jesus, no matter how many praises we sing, no matter how much work we do for His Kingdom.  It will never be enough.

The God of resurrection demands nothing for He would never take anything away from us.  There is no need for God to demand obedience from us, for obedience denotes slavery and submission, obedience pertains to servanthood, which is unworthy of the Son of God.   Obedience is unnecessary, for when our wills are aligned with God, we operate under the law of love.  We do not oppose God.  We are not taking what God made and making an opposite – for we find our freedom and liberty in love, peace, and joy rather than fear, war, and sorrow that poses for freedom in the ego realm. 

I would never ask of my grown children that they be obedient to me, for this would disrespect their freedom and liberty.  Nor would I demand that they love me, take joy in my company, and come to me in peace rather than in war, for the law of love would prohibit demanding anything of anyone.  However, in order for us to maintain our family relationships, for the love and devotion to each other that we have established to expand and grow – every individual in our family must be as devoted to love, peace, and joy as I am.  This means I expect them to do everything they can to get along.  We do not come to the table to fight, we come to the table to enjoy one another and to resolve differences.  I expect them as mature adults to let the petty little grievances and jealousies that can occur in families go in their devotion to our family happiness.  I expect them to repay loans they make to each other.  I expect them to keep their word.  I expect them to treat their father and I with respect and not ridicule, make judgments, or condemn us behind our backs. We do not signify in any way that we are more than or less than our children, but rather we expect them to have arrived at a natural level of maturity that befits their stage in life.  These are much the same expectations that God has for us – they are not demands, they are just natural outcomes of a strong, loving, respectful approach between Creator and created.

When we join in the resurrection of Christ, we join without dread because the resurrection represents life, love, joy, and peace.  Joining in the resurrection gives us the freedom to leave everything that is not life, love, joy, and peace behind.  We accept the resurrection in grace and by the grace of God. When we realize what we are to God, we no longer accept His grace with a groveling attitude, but with the graciousness that comes from a Son that receives the inheritance from His Loving Father.  He gives His all to us for He is our Father.  He brought us into existence and everything He has brought into existence is ours as well.  Thus, we are to protect and never harm the Creation of God, for through our inheritance, it is ours.  Just as we have joined the resurrection, we must join Creation to the resurrection for otherwise our awakening in God would dissolve into a selfish attempt to save ourselves and leave Creation behind. 

There is no everlasting peace for us until we stop crucifying and condemning the Creation of God.  God loves each one of us.  He loves all of Creation.  He poured Himself into Creation – but the ego, which has no creative ability of its own, is only bent on crucifying and condemning.  To join in any type of harmful practice toward others, toward Creation, to hold anything but forgiveness toward others for their human failings and ego deception teaches that Christ died for nothing.  He did not end death and sorrow, but rather perpetuated it. 

We undo the crucifixion when we join in the resurrection.  We teach that death did not defeat Christ, but He rose again and that He lives in me and He lives in you.  This is the work of redemption – and all of us have a part that is of equal value.  This is not a competition to see who can earn the most stars nor who can attract and keep the biggest congregations or build the most elaborate tabernacles.  We shackle ourselves to the earthly kingdom when we judge by earthly standards.  We join in the resurrection when we do what we are called to do, and we do our best.  God sees only our best for that is what the author of Love sees. He knows the whole story about each one of us.  He knows the quiet, unassuming healing thoughts of love, peace, and joy we generate for His Kingdom.  He loves us; therefore He does not judge us.   

The call to awaken is in each one of us. Christ abides in us as we abide in Him.  This is not a matter of belief for we do not have to believe in reality to make it real.  However, until we see the love, the peace, the joy of Christ in our lives, until we experience the freedom and liberty of being set free from the bondage of ego in our lives, we will not perceive the living Christ within us.

There are simply no limits to what joining the Resurrection does in our lives, yet we can go through lifetimes without knowing Christ as our Redeemer simply because we become fixated on the condemnation of the crucifixion.  This makes of us fearful witnesses. We let the established belief systems stand because we are afraid to speak the truth.  We go with the flow of humanity because we feel alone and are afraid of sharing the truth that has been made apparent to us. But it is only when we do share it that we can awaken fully.  There is no need for our walk with God to be lonely for every single one of us knows the truth because God placed His Spirit within us, and nothing can take it away.  We will recognize the truth when we hear it for it will call to us and ring true in our hearts and minds.  It will make sense to us.  Rather than raising unanswerable questions and demanding unquestionable allegiance that fill our hearts with fear, doubt, and sorrow, God’s truth answers our questions and brings love, joy, and peace to our minds and hearts.

God has never cast us out of His Kingdom.  He awaits our wakening with love and devotion.  We may have forgotten who and what we are, but God never has and never will.  He awaits our coming to our senses.  He awaits our return to His Kingdom.  He awaits our laying down of arms and our return to the brotherhood of Christ. When we share this with our brothers our part in the redemption is as worthy as Christ’s part. 

If we believe that we are somehow unworthy of Christ, that He is always bigger and better, purer and sweeter – we are making of our brother an idol.  We are making of His blood a magical potion.  We are cherishing His crucifixion and joining Him in death instead of joining Him in life.  Because we have been content to idolize Christ, to mystify Him, to build earthly cathedrals and perform meaningless rites and rituals in His name, we join in the crucifixion – and we are still in much the same state as when Jesus walked the earth thousands of years ago. 

But Jesus tells us that we are not miserable sinners, we are Sons of God who have lost our way.  Jesus did not come to be one with us because we are unworthy, He came to save us, for we are His beloved brothers, we are equals with Him as Sons of God.  Our equality is our oneness.  The whole power of God is in every part of Him and there is nothing real that opposes Him, contradicts Him, or has any existence. No matter how seemingly big, no matter how seemingly small, when something is not real it is simply no threat to God and His Kingdom. 

Today in your personal devotional practice, meditate upon the concepts that are covered in Waking to Redemption.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind and show you who and what you really are in the eyes of God.  Do we accept the ego’s version of our identity or do we accept God’s version of our identity?  Do we teach God’s wrath, condemnation and our unworthiness of His love or do we live, teach, and share the resurrection story of the Son of God, worthy and blameless? 

These are very critical concepts that will determine how long we remain asleep in a dream that promises salvation but keeps us spinning in cycles that keeps us from entering the Kingdom of God as a Son, redeemed for our worth not our unworthiness.  Do we really want to bow down and worship and placate an angry, wounded, grudging God for all of eternity, singing songs that tell Him how big and beautiful and strong He is compared to every other god?  Really consider this and ask Holy Spirit to give you the courage to get past your programming, your fear, your inability to look squarely at what we have been asked to accept as truth.  We cannot truly align ourselves with such a God, for nobody in their right mind would be able to joyfully accept an eternity with a God that frightened them, made them suffer and demanded their blood to prove their love to Him.  We cannot truly love a God who would send our brothers to everlasting torments for not believing the right doctrines or performing the correct rituals.  We cannot love a God who can only be appeased through the shedding of blood or the torment of those who lost their way in darkness.  We cannot cherish a God Who would turn His back upon His own creation.  We, who were made in and for love, to be love – know in our hearts that none of these harsh concepts of God can be true for they frighten us and drive us away and not toward Him. 

Only when we change our concept of God can we love and devote ourselves to Him without fear and without doubt and uncertainty. When our perception of God is true, we are drawn to Him, we find our way back to Him, we put down our crosses and we begin to truly live.  Today ask Holy Spirit to reacquaint you with your Father, to remind you of His love, His peace, His joy and happiness that He has in you, His Son. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. VI Waking to redemption. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego

V.  The “Dynamics” of the Ego 13-18

13. The ego analyzes; the Holy Spirit accepts.  The appreciation of wholeness comes only through acceptance, for to analyze means to break down or to separate out.  The attempt to understand totality by breaking it down is clearly the characteristically contradictory approach of the ego to everything.  The ego believes that power, understanding, and truth lie in separation, and to establish this belief it must attack.  Unaware that the belief cannot be established, and obsessed with the conviction that separation is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small, disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning.  The ego will always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.

14. The ego’s interpretation of the laws of perception are, and would have to be, the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit’s.  The ego focuses on error and overlooks truth.  It makes real every mistake it perceives, and with characteristically circular reasoning concludes that because of the mistake consistent truth must be meaningless.  The next step then, is obvious.  If consistent truth is meaningless, inconsistency must be true.  Holding error clearly in mind, and protecting what it has made real, the ego proceeds to the next step in its thought system: Error is real, and truth is error.

15. The ego makes no attempt to understand this, and it is clearly not understandable, but the ego does make every attempt to demonstrate it, and this it does constantly.  Analyzing to attack meaning the ego succeeds in overlooking it and is left with a series of fragmented perceptions which it unifies on behalf of itself.  This, then, becomes the universe it perceives.  And it is this universe which, in turn, becomes its demonstration of its own reality.

16. Do not underestimate the appeal of the ego’s demonstrations to those who would listen.  Selective perception chooses its witnesses carefully, and its witnesses are consistent.  The case for insanity is strong to the insane.  For reasoning ends at its beginning, and no thought system transcends its source.  Yet reasoning without meaning cannot demonstrate anything, and those who are convinced by it must be deluded.  Can the ego teach truly when it overlooks truth?  Can it perceive what it has denied?  Its witnesses do attest to its denial, but hardly to what it has denied.  The ego looks straight at the Father and does not see Him, for it has denied His Son. 

17. Would you remember the Father?  Accept His Son and you will remember Him.  Nothing can demonstrate that His Son is unworthy, for nothing can prove that a lie is true.  What you see of His Son through the eyes of the ego is a demonstration that His Son does not exist, yet where the Son is the Father must be.  Accept what God does not deny, and it will demonstrate its truth.  The witnesses for God stand in His Light and behold what He created.  Their silence is the sign that they have beheld God’s Son, and in the Presence of Christ they need demonstrate nothing, for Christ speaks to them of Himself and of His Father.  They are silent because Christ speaks to them, and it is His words they speak. 

18. Every brother you meet becomes a witness for Christ or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him.  Everyone convinces you of what you want to perceive, and of the reality of the kingdom you have chosen for your vigilance.  Everything you perceive is a witness to the thought system you want to be true.  Every brother has the power to release you, if you choose to be free.  You cannot accept false witness of him unless you have evoked false witnesses against him.  If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him.  You hear but your own voice, and if Christ speaks through you, you will hear Him. [1]

Today as we wrap us section five of Chapter 11 – the dynamics of the ego, Jesus teaches us that ego takes things apart while Holy Spirit accepts and appreciates wholeness.  There is no possible way to understand wholeness by breaking it down into separate little parts.  We cannot, for instance, accept and appreciate a cake for what it is, if we analyze it, pick it apart, and try to find each separate ingredient in it.  We may know that to make a cake, we need eggs, flour, sugar, milk, baking powder and other ingredients, but once we put those ingredients together and bake a cake, they become something different, forming a whole that transcends what each ingredient on its own could ever be. 

While the ego believes that power, understanding, and truth lie in each one of us being separate from God and unaware of our Sonship, this is impossible.  For we were created in Love and by Love and for Love.  Whether we believe in God or not, we are His Son.  Belief does not make this any more true than disbelief would make it untrue.  We recognize each other.  We love one another.  We are drawn to love, we write poems about it, we sing songs about it, we live for love!  And so what does the ego do?  It attacks. It puts barriers up between us and the ones we love; rather than accepting one another, overlooking the humanity in one another, and walking in forgiveness and love, we begin to pick each other apart. We find fault.  We carry grudges.  Instead of me coming to you and confessing to you how you hurt my feelings when I found out what you were saying behind my back, I decide to drop you and never speak to you again.  I take you apart in my mind.  I remind myself of all your faults and shortcomings and the ways in which you could have been a better friend.  When the ego can convince me to start taking you apart rather than accepting you, I can no longer have a relationship with you that has any meaning.  Because I only know you in separateness I will judge you according to my few associations with you. I will not see your wholeness which would help me understand you. I will only see the image I have made of you.  I will not see the hurt and the pain and the disappointment that you, too, carry around on the inside.  Nor will I see your courage, your inner beauty, the ray of light that is of God.

When I perceive you with ego, I am perceiving with the exact opposite of Holy Spirit’s perception of you.  Ego focuses on your mistakes, your social blunders, the way you ignored me or hurt my feelings that one time years ago when we were little more than kids.  Ego will tell me that your bad behavior on that particular occasion is the sum total of what you are.  Every mistake you ever made plus the ones I project upon you will become my idea about you.  I will not believe the truth about your love, your worth, your Sonship, I will believe the mistakes about you.  I will make all the things you did in error – who and what you are.  I will protect this image of you in my mind. When other people tell me about your goodness, I will say, “Oh no.  She was only pretending to be good on that occasion, she is actually a rotten, untrustworthy, irresponsible, and mean human being.” I will condemn you and tell them about all your mistakes that have become greatly exaggerated in my mind because I chose to take you apart instead of giving you to Holy Spirit in my mind.

My ego will not make any attempt to understand how my great and abiding love for you turned into something mean and spiteful and full of vengeance.  But my ego will make every attempt to keep taking you and everybody else I am called to love – apart.  In the ego, I will analyze the words people say to me, the way they look at me, the things they say and do and will insinuate my own take on their words, their looks, the appearance in every way I can.  When I choose the ego’s perception of the world, I will take all my fragmented perceptions and put them together and make a topsy-turvy universe which disallows me to have any meaningful connection with anyone or anything. 

The appeal of the ego’s way of perceiving one another is not to be taken lightly for we are all tempted to listen to it, to relish the mistakes and wrongdoing of others, to be titillated by the intrigue, betrayals, murders, and adulteries of our brothers.  Jesus says that selective perception chooses its witnesses carefully – and its witnesses are consistent.  We have all been guilty of being a witness for the ego – we have all been guilty of taking each other apart, of focusing on the wrongdoing instead of the right doing, of judging, condemning, and crucifying while having no way of knowing the whole story.  The separated world is an insane world.  For in a state of separation we have no meaning and no truth.  I can think I know you simply because we have been together since we were kids but in a realm of separateness I cannot know you in wholeness.  I cannot even know myself in a state of separation for just like you, I show up here and have no idea where I came from or what I am about.  Jesus tells us that the ego looks straight at the Father and does not see Him for it has denied His Son.  We must come from a Source of Love, for that is what we are and that is what we do and that is what all of us want, and yet when we go with ego, we deny this truth.  We deny who and what we really are for we have lost our way and believe ourselves to be miserable sinners – far less than God’s Son. 

In paragraph 17, Jesus tells us to accept God’s Son if we are to remember our Father.  When Jesus tells us to accept His Son, He is telling us to accept His love and devotion to the Sonship.  There is nothing we can do that would make us unworthy of God. There is no lie, no illusion, no wrongdoing, no mistake that could ever separate us from our Father’s Love. 

If we look through the eyes of the ego, the Sonship will seem like a joke.  But Jesus tells us, where we are, so must be our Father.  When we accept each other as Sons of God, we join our minds with the mind of Christ, we do not become God’s Son, for we are already God’s Son, but now we remember!  In this time-based state of consciousness, the ego has taken us apart – but in the everlasting realm of God, we remain His Son.  When we accept this, we will demonstrate this truth: We stand in the Light of God, we do not take Creation apart, we accept Creation as it was created. We are no longer willing to dissect it, to find faults and mistakes and reasons to deny our love and our oneness.  We behold the Son of God!  We do not have to prove anything.  We do not have to shout and scream and curse and threaten.   We behold the Son of God and the clamor of the ego is quieted.  We become quiet for Holy Spirit is quiet; we become calm and peaceful, for Holy Spirit is calm and peaceful.  All of the brashness, the chatterbox, the me-me-me of ego goes away because now we want to hear the voice for God, now we want the Vision of Christ, now it is His Words we want to speak. 

We find a witness for Christ in everyone we meet because we no longer analyze others, we accept them.  When we no longer accept the perceptions of the ego, we become vigilant for the kingdom of God and so we no longer behold others as apart from us, but as one with us.  As we free our brothers from the myths, the fables, the gossip and rumors and accusations we have made of them in our blighted minds, we are freed from the lies that were made of us in their minds.  Because when we choose to be free, we cannot accept the ego’s perceptions of ourselves any more or any less than what we offer to our brothers.  If I see and hear Christ in you, you will see and hear Christ in me.  If I don’t see and hear Christ in you, you will not see and hear Christ in me.  We will see and hear from one another, our own voice.  It is a choice we make.  If I look at you and refuse to see Christ, if I refuse you on the grounds that you do not believe like me, look like me, or behave the same way I do, you will not see Christ in me.  But when I look upon you with the eyes of Christ and see you as my brother and myself, you will see me as your brother and as yourself.  We will be joined with Christ.  Our words will be Christ’s words and when we talk to one another, we will hear Him.  

Today take time to reread or listen to all three segments of this section.  Ask Holy Spirit to open your eyes and make you wise to the ego dynamics which tempt us to look upon our brothers, not as God’s Son but as liars, thieves, killers, and the generally obnoxious.  Welcome the perception of Christ into your mind and practice seeing your family, friends, and coworkers in the light of Christ and His love and recognition of who and what we really are in the Kingdom of God.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego V The dynamics of the ego 13-18. 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 11 God or the Ego

V.  The “Dynamics” of the Ego 7-12

7.  The ego always attacks on behalf of separation.  Believing it has the power to do this it does nothing else, because its goal of autonomy is nothing else.  The ego is totally confused about reality, but it does not lose sight of its goal.  It is much more vigilant than you are because it is perfectly certain of its purpose.  You are confused because you do not recognize yours. 

8. You must recognize that the last thing the ego wishes you to realize is that you are afraid of it.  For if the ego could give rise to fear, it would diminish your independence and weaken your power.  Yet its one claim to your allegiance is that it can give power to you.  Without this belief you would not listen to it at all.  How, then, can its existence continue if you realize that, by accepting it, you are belittling yourself and depriving yourself of power. 

9. The ego can and does allow you to regard yourself as supercilious, unbelieving, “light-hearted,” distant, emotionally shallow, callous, uninvolved, and even desperate, but not really afraid.  Minimizing fear, but not its undoing, is the ego’s constant effort, and is indeed a skill at which it is very ingenious.  How can it preach separation without upholding it through fear, and would you listen to it if you recognized this is what it is doing? 

10. Your recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is only fear, regardless of the form it takes and quite apart from how the ego wants you to experience it, is therefore the basic ego threat.  Its dream of autonomy is shaken to its foundation by this awareness.  For though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will not accept the cost of fear if you recognize it.  Yet this is the cost, and the ego cannot minimize it.  If you overlook love you are overlooking yourself, and you must fear unreality because you have denied yourself.  By believing that you have successfully attacked truth, you are believing that attack has power.  Very simply, then, you have become afraid of yourself.  And no one wants to find what he believes would destroy him. 

11. If the ego’s autonomy could be accomplished God’s purpose could be defeated, and this is impossible.  Only by learning what fear is can you finally learn to distinguish the possible from the impossible and the false from the true.  According to the ego’s teaching, its goal can be accomplished, and God’s purpose can not.  According to the Holy Spirit’s teaching, only God’s purpose can be accomplished, and it is accomplished already. 

12. God is as dependent on you as you are on Him, because His Autonomy encompasses yours, and is therefore incomplete without it.  You can only establish your autonomy by identifying with Him and fulfilling your function as it exists in truth.  The ego believes that to accomplish its goal is happiness.  But it is given you to know that God’s function is yours, and happiness cannot be found apart from your joint Will.  Recognize only that the ego’s goal, which you have pursued so diligently, has merely brought you fear, and it becomes difficult to maintain that fear is happiness.  Upheld by fear, this is what the ego would have you believe.  Yet God’s Son is not insane and cannot believe it.  Let him but recognize it and he will not accept it.  For only the insane would choose fear in place of love, and only the insane could believe that love can be gained by attack.  But the sane realize that only attack could produce fear, from which the Love of God completely protects them. [1]

In yesterday’s Course text reading, we ended with paragraph six in which Jesus taught us that the ego’s goal of complete independence from God costs us the knowledge of our dependence upon God wherein we have freedom and liberty.  This morning a brother from our study group called and we discussed how the ego sees any stab at laying down our individuality, our specialness, our elitist status as the “born-again Christian” or a spiritual master of any kind as a threat to its separatist ideals.  The ego works hard to find a way in which to twist our most sincere seeking for God into a form of either the miserable-sinner-saved-by-grace illusion which keeps us trapped in a false sense of unworthiness or as one of God’s elect, a spiritual master, a guru, or the anointed one.  We are not to be deceived by the ego’s interpretation of the very basic conflict that we all must resolve – do we choose the ego’s version of salvation which puffs us up one day and deflates us the next according to the whims of a chancy, fear-fueled world – or do we choose the unwavering truth of the certainty and love of God for His Creation?

As long as we waver between the ego way and the Only way, we remain in a state of bewilderment, confusion, and uncertainty which is the ego’s way.  The ego’s aim for us is to be confused, to waffle back and forth, to not recognize that the fear it has established in our hearts toward the things of God is actually the fear we have toward the sense of separation and the lies in which the ego projects.  We can say that the ego is our god as long as we are filled with fear and sorrow and have not learned to put our trust completely in the Fatherhood of God, in His love and undying devotion toward His Creation. 

As long as the ego can project our fear we have for its lies and separation onto God, it weakens the power of Sonship in our life.  It tricks us into thinking that the “independence” from God that it offers is our power.  It would have us focus upon our own individuality as if any of us could survive and thrive without the help and sustenance of everyone else.  As long as we believe that we can have power outside of God, that there is something that is better than the oneness and wholeness of God, that there is anything at all that the world can offer us that would take place of the Brotherhood we find in Christ, the ego continues to rule us in the temporal world.  We give our eternity away to the ego until we come to know that its power is not power at all, but a worthless swagger that belittles the Sonship and leeches our power. 

The ego emphasizes our weariness of others, projecting our fear of its instability and meanness unto others.  It tells us that others intend to infringe upon us, to descend upon us draining us of our resources and leaving us with nothing.  Then when we fall for its lies about others, it accuses us of being selfish and uninvolved.   The ego will keep us vacillating between feeling mighty good about ourselves and awfully bad about ourselves.  It makes us suspicious of the motives of others and then accuses us of being suspicious and untrusting.  It drives us to work hard, gaining status and influence and bigger paychecks and then accuses us of ignoring our family and friends, not spiritual enough, and get this, egotistical!  When we listen to the ego we will be constantly building cases against others and letting their words and behaviors affect us in a negative way, searching for all manner of reasons why we should despise this one or turn our back upon that one.  For as long as it can keep us in a state of separation from God and the Sonship on any level at all, it can pretend to be our salvation, it can pretend to be for us and not against us. 

As long as we think of the ego’s chatter, its condemnations, its irksomeness toward others as our power and our protection, we are unaware how it is using us to lift itself up against the love, peace, and joy which is the only power there is because it is of God.  Mistake the lies of the ego for power, and we are left alone, empty, unhappy, and void of meaning. 

When we awaken to the fact that it is fear that separates us from God – that it is fear that fuels the ego’s power because it has no substance or power on its own – the ego’s dream of sovereignty is shaken to its foundation.  Some people awaken by a song in their heart, some people awaken when they watch a movie, read a certain book, or take a little stroll.  For me I was cleaning the kitchen sink watching the water go down the drain!   

We may accept the ego’s false idea of power that has curses, damnation, hell, and condemnation attached to it, but we will not accept the cost of fear that must come with it.  The ego cannot minimize the fact that if we overlook the truth of the loving Fatherhood of God, we are overlooking ourselves, and that without Love there can be no real power.  When we deny love, we deny ourselves.  By thinking that we can thrive and survive without His Absolute Love we believe that attack, violence, disregard for our brothers, and limitations upon love equals power. Only to find that what attacks and disregards any part of Creation, any part of the Sonship is an attack and disrespects us all.

In paragraph 11, Jesus plainly states that if we could maintain independence from God, Love’s purpose would be defeated.  This is impossible.  Because once we recognize the cost of independence from God, from Love, from Peace, and Joy, we simply would not and could not choose to live in fear.  According to every world system there is – we not only do live in fear but we should live in fear, for the world is always out to get us.  In the world, to live in love is for those who are so heavenly minded they prove to be worthless to the world.  Meanwhile, we do our best to maintain our independence from God in the temporal realm – we develop  new vaccines, we spend billions of dollars each year on the new cure for age spots, baldness, and hemorrhoids.  We develop new programs that address addictions, illiteracy, ignorance, homelessness, and grinding poverty.  We declare war on countries that oppose our way of thinking.  We live in a state of near constant outrage over the injustices that prevail.  Without God and without sun, we will get the harvest done is the battle cry of the those who would be godless.  But while this may seem a possibility in the temporal world it comes at a terrible cost – and the cost is fear, it is the nature of a world which consumes the weak and the old and the diseased thus eventually consuming all – spitting them back out in an ongoing cycle of fear, which keeps repeating itself but never advancing, never expanding, always reinventing itself and doing it all over again. 

The Holy Spirit teaches that there is only one purpose to be accomplished and that is God’s purpose – love and joy and peace.  There is no fight or attack because this purpose has already been accomplished and it is impervious to conflict – for this is what we truly want, it is what we created with and for, and there is no fear involved.  While fear can only contract and decay, love and peace and joy expand and create.

God’s Love compels Him to be as dependent upon us as we are upon Him because God’s Autonomy is Love, Peace, and Joy.  God’s Autonomy envelopes us and our autonomy can only be established by finding our identity in the Love, Peace, and Joy that is of Him and is Him.  Our very function is love and peace and joy – our happiness cannot be found without joining our wills with the Will of God. 

Fear is simply not love, it is not peace, it is not joy.  Fear will never make us happy.  Any concepts about God, about the way in which to navigate our way through the temporal world, about the path to our personal success and happiness that teaches fear is an ego fiction.  We will not be able to believe it, we will not be able to stand upon it, we will not be able to live it or teach it with integrity, wisdom, or peace.  Only the sick of mind, the insane, the wronged and the hurtful could believe that love can be gained by attack, would choose fear in place of love, would believe that God’s sense of justice must be appeased through cruel and everlasting punishment. 

Today in your personal devotional practice, ask Holy Spirit to illuminate the truth of the last sentence in today’s text.  We can thank Jesus for our sane minds, for the light of love shines upon my mind and shines upon yours, dispelling fear, all forms of attack, all forms of attachment we have to the “dynamics” of the ego.  The Mind of Christ sets us free of all that would obscure our acceptance of the love, undying devotion, and everlasting goodwill that God has for us, His Son. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. V The dynamics of the ego 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 11 God or the Ego

V. The “Dynamics” of the Ego 1-6

  1. No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous.  We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready.  Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth.  The “dynamics” of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real.  We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth.    
  2. What is healing but the removal of all that stands in the way of knowledge?  And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them?  Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at is the source of fear, and you are beginning to learn that fear is not real.  You are also learning that its effects can be dispelled merely by denying their reality.  The next step is obviously to recognize that what has no effects does not exist.  Laws do not operate in a vacuum, and what leads to nothing has not happened.  If reality is recognized by its extension, what leads to nothing could not be real.  Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen.  Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light must dispel it. 
  3. Let us begin this lesson in “ego dynamics” by understanding that the term itself does not mean anything.  It contains the very contradiction in terms that makes it meaningless.  “Dynamics” implies the power to do something, and the whole separation fallacy lies in the belief that the ego has the power to do anything.  The ego is fearful to you because you believe this.  Yet the truth is very simple: All power is of God.  What is not of Him has no power to do anything.
  4. When we look at the ego, then, we are not considering dynamics but delusions.  You can surely regard a delusional system without fear, for it cannot have any effects if its source is not real.  Fear becomes more obviously inappropriate if you recognize the ego’s goal, which is so clearly senseless that any effort on its behalf is necessarily expended on nothing.  The ego’s goal is quite explicitly ego autonomy.  From the beginning, then, its purpose is to be separate, sufficient unto itself and independent of any power except its own.  This is why it is the symbol of separation. 
  5. Every idea has a purpose, and its purpose is always the natural outcome of what it is.  Everything that stems from the ego is the natural outcome of its central belief, and the way to undo its results is merely to recognize that their source is not natural, being out of accord with your true nature.  I said before that to will contrary to God is wishful thinking and not real willing.  His Will is one because the extension of His Will cannot be unlike itself. The real conflict you experience, then, is between the ego’s idle wishes and the Will of God, which you share.  Can this be a real conflict?
  6. Yours is the independence of creation, not of autonomy.  Your whole creative function lies in your complete dependence on God, Whose function He shares with you.  By His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on Him.  Do not ascribe the ego’s arrogance to Him Who wills not to be independent of you.  He has included you in His Autonomy.  Can you believe that autonomy is meaningful apart from Him?  The belief in ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God, in which your freedom lies.  The ego sees all dependency as threatening and has twisted even your longing for God into a means of establishing itself.  But do not be deceived by its interpretation of your conflict.[1] 

We may be afraid to look at the ego’s thought system because as terrible and despicable the things that happen in it are, the sad fact is that we seem to be stuck with it.  We are doing the best we can here – if we look at it too closely, every single one of us are going to have to decide – God or the ego?  And this is a decision that we, perhaps, have been putting off. 

However, by now we are past putting it off any longer.  We want truth, and to see what is true, we must look honestly and with courage at what is not truth. We must look at what has been posing for truth, for if we do not look at it squarely and without fear, it will continue to cast its spell upon us.  If we continue to let the tricks and illusions of the ego fascinate us, frighten us, or fashion us in any way we will continue to be deceived by it and impose upon ourselves and each other a longer stint in the realm of sorrow.

Healing removes all that stands in the way of health.  We must be able to look at the illusions, the enchantment, at the source of our fear in order to recognize that it is a spell, that it is an enchantment, that it is not real.  As we study and apply what we learn in this Course, we learn that the effects of this spell melt away when we deny their reality.  We learn that to deny a place for grudges in our life, establishes the joy in fellowship we have with our brothers. We learn that to deny the reality of sin and shame in our lives, fills our minds with a sense of peace, purity, and worthiness.  We learn that to deny the reality of sickness and disease, keeps our focus upon health and wellness.  We learn that to deny the reality of fear itself, fills our minds with God’s love, goodwill, and devotion to the Sonship.  And it is not long at all before we recognize the fact that what has only temporary effects does not exist no matter how loud it clamors, no matter how much it argues its separate points, no matter how it tries to impose itself upon the memory.

The news and entertainment industry, the educational, health care, legal and religious systems of the world are built upon the premise of ego beliefs.  The dynamic is one which promotes fear: fear of not knowing what is going on in the world, fear of ignorance, fear of sickness, disease, and death, fear of injustice, punishment in this world and the world beyond.  Adopt the perception of the ego world, there seems to be very good reasons to rise up against each other, to build walls, to arm ourselves, to project our wrongdoing unto others, to lift ourselves above or put ourselves below but never recognize our love for one another, our mutuality, and our brotherhood. 

Jesus asks us to accept the concept of that which ends in death, which comes to a close, which seems to have a past but has no future – simply does not exist.  Nothing is real outside the Kingdom of God.  Jesus tells us not to be afraid of anything then, because there is no fear in God’s Kingdom.  We can look then upon anything that would frighten us, fill us with a sense of dread, depression, or depletion of any kind, and deny it a place in our Kingdom.  The light of Christ dispels its darkness and sets us free from any thought system that would bind us to its false reality.     

All power is of God, and that which is not of God has no power is the belief system that sets us free.  We will no longer give our power to the ego, for the ego has no dynamic of its own.  Its only power lies in opposition to what is already created.  There is simply nothing at all dynamic in a lie.  If I tell you that I have millions of dollars at my disposal, and you latch onto me thinking that my millions of dollars will somehow benefit you – that lie will let you down, not build you up.  We may gad about together for awhile but sooner or later, depending upon your gullibility and my finesse at bluffing you, you will find that the millions of dollars I professed to have was an illusion. My lie had no dynamic on its own – you had to believe in it to give it the only power it had. 

As much as a stretch as it may seem, we can take such a scenario and apply it to our attitude toward ego in general.  When we accept into our consciousness that all power is of God, our response to evil would simply be a matter of denying our support of unloving, hateful, fearful, destructive thoughts.  The Hitlers of this world do not arise on their own – they rise in the world because of the willingness of others to support destructive political beliefs of all kinds, to attack and murder the Sonship, to project blame and shame upon others rather than to take corrective measures.  The Hitlers of the world are not so much aberrations of human nature, but rather exaggerated examples of what the belief system of separation produces.  They give us nothing to build upon, to be proud of, to hold up to God and say, “Hey, we are good without You, after all.”  Instead they welcome sorrow, despair, unimaginable torments, shame, and a sense of despair into the world.  They show us by their extreme examples of the true results of separation, the results of lifting ourselves up against our Creator by attacking Creation.  Like all the rejectors of God’s Kingdom before them and since, they align themselves with the many forms of nothingness outside the realm of God.  That we are trapped in a realm with such examples is an indication of our own responsibility to look without fear on the subterfuge of the ego thought system and see it for what it is.   

All power is of God.  What is not of God has no power to do anything that lasts forever. To let it work us up and steal our joy is a denial of “All Power is of God.”  If we do not want evil to reign in our world, we draw closer to God, we become lights in the darkness, we draw all people to lay down their weapons of war and their fingers of blame and accept the function of being perfectly helpful and perfectly harmless.  We learn peace, to have peace, to become peace.  Peace, which is one with God, with Love and with Joy, is one with the most powerful forces in the Universe.  There is nothing namby-pamby about it.  There is nothing hippy-dippy about it.  There is no weapon that can be formed against it.  There is no arrogance attached to it.  Death, disease, and despair cannot defy it.  

As impossible and as implausible as this may seem at the world level, it is only when we practice the peace of God and accept it as our own and become it that we will know the truth of “All Power is of God.”  For the world is an alternate kingdom, it is that which deceives us, it is that designed to prove that the love and joy and peace of God is not invincible and can crush the Sons of God.  The ego’s aim to be autonomous, to exist without God, without brotherhood, without Sonship is the symbol of separation.  It is not Satan or Lucifer or the devil, because it insinuated itself upon us.  It resides in our lower minds until we deny it access. This is not something we can ignore; it will not go away by itself.  We must actively deny it a place in our consciousness.  It does not leave unless we call upon God and accept His Son as our identity. 

Every idea has a purpose, and the purpose is the natural outcome of what it is.  The other day James told me how much it would mean to him if I made him Cuban tamales, which is what we call Chef Paul Prudhomme’s La Jolla Tamale Pie.* The idea appealed to me because I love to see my husband happy.  Then I thought of how happy it would make our friend Linda to eat Cuban tamales with us.  The natural outcome of James’ idea was a delicious tamale pie that not only pleased us but was happily served up to our friend, son, and grandson who stopped by. 

While this serves as an example of sharing happiness, everything that stems from the ego is also the natural outcome of its stabs at independence from God:  There is a power that is not of God.  The power that is not of God will give us opposites; it will give us what we do not want. I think of the world as a stage in which we practice opposition to God until we wake each other up to the nothingness, the meaninglessness, the go-nowhere-ness of the ego’s illusion.  It may take one life-time, it may take several, but disenchantment will happen for we were made to be free of illusion and to know that all power is of God.

We will wrap up today’s text with paragraph six and finish the next 12 paragraphs of this section over the next two posts.  However, I urge you to prayerfully read the rest of this section and ask God to illuminate it to your mind so that you may understand the “dynamics” which fuel the ego.  Do not let anything take the place of your personal devotional practices and meditations, for it is only in this time alone with God, that we can practice His Presence and come to know the reality of All Power is of God

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the Ego. V. The dynamics of the ego 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 11 God or the Ego

IV. The Inheritance of God’s Son

  1. Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for the Sonship is your Self.  As God’s creation It is yours and belonging to you It is His.  Your Self does not need salvation, but your mind needs to learn what salvation is.  You are not saved from anything, but you are saved for glory.  Glory is your inheritance, given you by your Creator that you might extend it.  Yet if you hate part of your Self, all your understanding is lost, because you are looking on what God created as yourself without love.  And since what He created is part of Him, you are denying Him His place in His Own altar.
  2. Could you try to make God homeless and know that you are at home? Can the son deny the Father without believing that the Father has denied him? God’s laws hold only for your protection, and they never hold in vain. What you experience when you deny your Father is still for your protection, for the power of your will cannot be lessened without the intervention of God against it, and any limitation on your power is not the will of God. Therefore, look only to the power that God gave to save you, remembering that it is yours because it is His, and join with your brothers in His peace.
  3. Your peace lies in its limitlessness. Limit the peace you share, and your Self must be unknown to you. Every altar to God is part of you because the light He created is one with Him. Would you cut off a brother from the light that is yours? You would not do so if you realized that you can darken only your own mind. As you bring him back, so will you return. That is the law of God, for the protection of the wholeness of His Son.
  4. Only you can deprive yourself of anything. Do not oppose this realization, for it is truly the beginning of the dawn of light. Remember also that the denial of this simple fact takes many forms, and these you must learn to recognize and to oppose steadfastly without exception.  This is a crucial step in the reawakening.  The beginning phases of this reversal are often quite painful, for as blame is withdrawn from without, there is a strong tendency to harbor it within.  It is difficult at first to realize that this is exactly the same thing, for there is no distinction between within and without.
  5. If your brothers are part of you and you blame them for your deprivation, you are blaming yourself. And you cannot blame yourself without blaming them. That is why blame must be undone, not seen elsewhere. Lay it to yourself and you cannot know yourself, for only the ego blames at all. Self-blame is therefore ego identification, and as much an ego defense as blaming others. You cannot enter God’s presence if you attack His Son. When His Son lifts his voice in praise of his Creator, he will hear the Voice for his Father.  Yet the Creator cannot be praised without His Son, for their glory is shared and they are glorified together.
  6. Christ is at God’s altar, waiting to welcome His Son. But come wholly without condemnation, for otherwise you will believe that the door is barred, and you cannot enter. The door is not barred, and it is impossible that you cannot enter the place where God would have you be. But love yourself with the love of Christ, for so does your Father love you. You can refuse to enter, but you cannot bar the door that Christ holds open. Come unto me who hold it open for you, for while I live it cannot be shut, and I live forever. God is my life and yours, and nothing is denied by God to His Son.
  7. At God’s altar Christ waits for the restoration of Himself in you. God knows His Son as wholly blameless as Himself, and He is approached through the appreciation of His Son. Christ waits for your acceptance of Him as yourself, and of His Wholeness as yours. For Christ is the Son of God, who lives in His Creator and shines with His glory. Christ is the extension of the Love and the Loveliness of God as perfect as His Creator and at peace with Him.
  8. Blessed is the Son of God whose radiance is of his Father, and whose glory he wills to share as his Father shares it with him. There is no condemnation in the Son, for there is no condemnation in the Father.  Sharing the perfect Love of the Father the Son must share what belongs to Him, for otherwise he will not know the Father or the Son.  Peace be unto you who rest in God, and in whom the whole Sonship rests.[1]

We are to look with love on all parts of the Sonship – love for God created all.  If we deny love to any part, we are denying God.  It is not for us to divide up Creation into who is worthy and who is not.  In our hearts and in our minds, no matter what the situation, we are called to lay aside our personal judgments and condemnations against those whom we despise or against those who have hurt us and know that they belong to God as we belong to God, to accept that God loves them no more and no less than God loves us. 

When we deny our brothers a place in the Sonship, we deny God and we will perceive that God denies us.  This bit of unpleasantness, this dark valley in which we find ourselves when we lift ourselves up against the Sonship and therefore deny God is for our protection.  Any sense of chastisement we feel from God is not punishment, it is correction.  We are to use only the power that God gave us to save us, not the powers of the dark companions which call forth spite and vengeance and separation from our brother and from our God.  God shares His power with us, not to go to war against others, to lift ourselves above others, to judge and condemn, but to join others in peace. 

We are to give peace to all for if we deny peace to any part of the Sonship, we will never know who and what we are in God.  The light in me is the same light that is in you for it is part of God.  No matter how batty you think I am personally, you must never cut me off from your light for this will only darken your mind.  No matter how different from me I think you are, I must never cut you off from my light for this will only darken my own mind.  When we hold only loving and peaceful thoughts toward all, as we bring all our brothers before God as one, no matter how vile, confused, uncertain, and undeserving our egos would judge them to be, we bring ourselves back to God.  This is His law, and it is for the protection of wholeness and completeness.  It is for the protection of all.  Nobody is left behind. 

To awaken to Christ within, we must accept full responsibility for any sense of deprivation that we experience.  We must learn to recognize and stand firm against any suggestion that we have been victimized, that we were helpless, and others came in and took advantage, that other people used their power against us, or that we were born with a curse from previous generations.  The only one that can deprive me of anything is myself; the only one that can deprive you of anything is you.  This may seem hard to take.  Especially for those of us who were abused as children, who were denied access to freedom and liberty, who were beaten, robbed, and raped. 

Jesus is not saying it is our fault.  Jesus is not telling us that we are to blame ourselves for the rotten things that have happened to us.  He is simply telling us to step away from the blame game.  To stop depriving ourselves of reality, to recognize the perceptual world and all that happens in it as the substitute for reality that it is. 

Our salvation is not found in the perceptual world, we cannot know our true Self as God created us to be if we see ourselves as victims and blame others for our unhappiness in the world.  When we are pointing our fingers at each other, carrying our signs, screaming and calling names, picking up arms to go to war against the Sons of God, we cannot enter the Presence of God.  We can carry our bibles around, we can go to church, we can praise God and tell Him how big and strong and perfect He is, but if we harbor ill will and blame others for ruining our lives and hold our brothers accountable for our unhappiness, God cannot be praised for He must be praised in oneness, wholeness, unity with all.   

When we bring our condemnation, our self-pity, our demands for punishment upon our enemies, our grief and our sorrow to Heaven’s gate, we must lay it down.  We do not bring unworthy gifts to God and His Kingdom.  The things that seemed to happen in perceptual world are merely not worthy of the Sonship of God.  If the perceptual world and all the dastardly deeds that seem to happen in it are still so important to me that I cannot lay them down, I am the one that is refusing to enter, but I will think it is Christ who does not welcome me.  I will feel as if I am a reject and fail to see the door flung open wide because I have identified with the color of my skin, I have identified with the false history of my people, I have identified with my childhood abuse and sexual trauma. 

All sorts of bad things happen in a realm that is flesh and blood.  Sometimes it really does seem as if we were picked out of the masses to be inflicted upon more than others.  It will seem in the perceptual world that some people have all the privilege and others have all the disadvantages.  This is to be expected in the world that has opposed God and made opposites for all that is.  To identify with it is to sadly mistake this kingdom for the real one.  Humans are savage and dangerous beings for the most part.  Part God and part ego they often use their power to prey upon and go to battle against those who stand in their way.  There is no one group of humans which are any better or any worse than another group of humans.  There is no conflict in which one side is “right,” and the other side is “wrong.”  It is all wrong because it is a fiction that has posed as truth. 

Christ waits for the restoration of the Christ in us.  We approach God by appreciating Christ and recognizing the Sonship in all.  It starts with you and it starts with me accepting the universal message of forgiveness for one another in our denial of God and His Kingdom.  For forgiving our mutual humanity, for thinking that we could be anything that meant anything at all apart from God. 

When we accept Christ, His wholeness becomes our wholeness.  Christ is the Son of God who lives in God and radiates the glory of God.  This is not a power trip for Christ.  This is not an “I’ll show them” sort of thing.  Christ is not out to rescue people to enhance His own sense of importance and be our hero forever.  Christ remembers who and what we really are.  We are His brothers who have lost their way, who have forgotten the God in them, who went down a different path.  When He took on humanity, He understood the savagery, the danger, the ways in which the world would tear His flesh to find what He was hiding and withholding from them inside.  It was a nightmare to leave the Kingdom where love and peace and joy abides forever to come to this hot mess of a realm, but He did it anyway because without us the Sonship is not complete. He does not extend the Love and the Loveliness of God to us because we are dirty rotten sinners, my brothers. He extends the Love and the Loveliness of God to us because He remembers us as we really are – like our Creator and at peace with Him and with each other. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. IV The inheritance of God’s Son. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego

III. From Darkness to Light

  1. When you are weary, remember you have hurt yourself.  Your Comforter will rest you, but you cannot.  You do not know how, for if you did you could never have grown weary.  Unless you hurt yourself, you could never suffer in any way, for that is not God’s Will for His Son.  Pain is not of Him, for He knows no attack and His peace surrounds you silently.  God is very quiet, for there is no conflict in Him.  Conflict is the root of all evil, for being blind it does not see whom it attacks.  Yet it always attacks the Son of God, and the Son of God is you.
  2. God’s Son is indeed in need of comfort, for he knows not what he does, believing his will is not his own.  The Kingdom is his, and yet he wanders homeless.  At home in God he is lonely, and amid all his brothers he is friendless.   Would God let this be real when He did not will to be alone Himself?  And if your will is His it cannot be true of you because it is not true of Him.
  3. O my child, if you knew what God wills for you, your joy would be complete!  And what He wills has happened, for it was always true.  When the light comes and you have said, “God’s Will is mine,” you will see such beauty that you will know it is not of you.  Out of your joy you will create beauty in His Name, for your joy could no more be contained than His.  The bleak little world will vanish into nothingness, and your heart will be so filled with joy that it will leap into Heaven, and into the Presence of God.  I cannot tell you what this will be like, for your heart is not ready.  Yet I can tell you, and remind you often, that what God wills for Himself He wills for you, and what He wills for you is yours.
  4. The way is not hard, but it is very different.  Yours is the way of pain, of which God knows nothing.  That way is hard indeed, and very lonely.  Fear and grief are your guests, and they go with you and abide with you on the way.  But the dark journey is not the way of God’s Son.  Walk in light and do not see the dark companions, for they are not fit companions for the Son of God, who was created of light and in light.  The Great Light always surrounds you and shines out from you.  How can you see the dark companions in a light such as this?  If you see them, it is only because you are denying the light.  But deny them instead, for the light is here and the way is clear.
  5. God hides nothing from His Son, even though His Son would hide himself.  Yet the Son of God cannot hide his glory, for God wills him to be glorious, and gave him the light that shines in him.  You will never lose your way, for God leads you.  When you wander, you but undertake a journey that is not real.  The dark companions, the dark way, are all illusions.  Turn toward the light, for the little spark in you is part of a Light so great that it can sweep you out of all darkness forever.  For your Father is your Creator, and you are like Him.
  6. The children of light cannot abide in darkness, for darkness is not in them.  Do not be deceived by the dark comforters, and never let them enter the mind of God’s Son, for they have no place in His temple.  When you are tempted to deny Him remember that there are no other gods to place before Him and accept His Will for you in peace.  For you cannot accept it otherwise.
  7. Only God’s Comforter can comfort you.  In the quiet of His temple, He waits to give you the peace that is yours.  Give His peace, that you may enter the temple and find it waiting for you.  But be holy in the Presence of God, or you will not know that you are there.  For what is unlike God cannot enter His Mind, because it was not His Thought and therefore does not belong to Him.  And your mind must be as pure as His, if you would know what belongs to you.  Guard carefully His temple, for He Himself dwells there and abides in peace.  You cannot enter God’s Presence with the dark companions beside you, but you also cannot enter alone.  All your brothers must enter with you, for until you have accepted them you cannot enter.  For you cannot understand Wholeness unless you are whole, and no part of the Son can be excluded if he would know the Wholeness of his Father. 
  8. In your mind you can accept the whole Sonship and bless it with the light your Father gave it.  Then you will be worthy to dwell in the temple with Him, because it is your will not to be alone.   God blessed his Son forever.  If you will bless him in time, you will be in eternity.  Time cannot separate you from God if you use it on behalf of the eternal. [1]

Fatigue, stress, weariness, and pain of any kind are the result of conflict in our life.  Many people say that money is the root of all evil, but Jesus says that conflict is the root of all evil, for it blinds us to the God in each other and makes us want to strike out at each other, build cases against each other, judge each other and ourselves as unworthy of God’s Kingdom. 

God’s Will for us is exactly what we want for ourselves.  We want warmth, love, fellowship, and place to call Home.  We want our lives to matter!  We want to do things that have meaning and purpose.  We want safety and security.  We do not want to be lonely, afraid, homeless, and wandering listlessly about with the dark companions that this world gives us in lieu of the gifts of God. 

We could not truly love, respect, or align ourselves with a God who willed for us to suffer, to go without, to be alone, persecuted, and afraid.  When we hold beliefs that cause us to fear God, when we are more inclined to think of God as angry, wrathful, punishing, and vengeful, we have accepted the world’s perception of God, we have taken the dark companions of the world as our god and made an idol to take the place of our loving and forgiving Father. 

Our joy is only complete in the Will of God!  When we get even a glimpse of the light within us and recognize that God’s Will is our will, our minds will be so peaceful that we will know that there is no way we could have manufactured this on our own!  Our minds will be such a joyful place that we will only be able to create that which is beautiful in His name, for there will be no place for sin, shame, condemnation, and spite.  The joy of the Lord will not only be our strength but will touch and heal the thoughts we hold toward others, strengthening them and helping them to see their own light of God within.  We will not have the heart or the inclination to ever again make of God a fearful image for we will only know His love, His patience, His devotion toward His Creation. 

This bleak little world with its false concepts of God, its mean little versions of all that is Love and Joy and Peace, its calls for sacrifice, suffering, sin, and shame will vanish in the light of our joy.  We will literally leap into Heaven to be in the Presence.  There are no words that Jesus can use to describe to us what this will be like for our human hearts and our human minds have no conceptual experience that relates to our return to God’s Kingdom.  But we can be assured and will be reminded frequently that what God wills for Himself He wills for His creation and what He wills for you is yours and what He wills for me is mine.  He has only goodness and goodwill toward us. 

We would be ruined for this world completely once we experienced the return to God’s Kingdom.  It is ruined for some of us anyway – for once we experience even a glimpse or a touch of His presence, the joy and the bliss makes of the world a place of meanness and poverty.  I have talked to several people and read about several more, who come back from a near death experience and express such sorrow at having to return to this place where peace and love and joy are disrespected and made into commodities by the commercial and perceptual world.   The world is never the same to them, nor should it be for once we encounter reality and truth, we can never accept illusions and lies again.

Our humanity takes us on a hard path full of fear and sorrow.  We are not here long at all before we experience the inequality, the injustice, the meanness, the poverty, the predatory nature of this world and its inhabitants.  No matter how loving and kind, protective and nurturing our guardians are, we are alone, separate.  They cannot really know us and we cannot really know them.  We are not only separate from each other, but we feel far removed from God for our innocence and holiness simply does not last in the world.  It is knocked out of our consciousness sometimes from day one! 

Dark companions obscure the light of God within us, we learn fear, we learn mistrust, we learn shame and we learn sorrow.  We learn to lie, we learn to hide, we learn that we are never good enough, we learn to pretend, we learn how to survive in separation, in a meaty, fleshy body that is vulnerable to attack from within and from without.  We learn how to put a pretty ribbon on the hellish realm and call it courage, call it bravery, call it happiness.  We learn to strut our triumphs and project our mistakes.  Our idols are punitive gods of wrath, vengeance, and bloodshed which must be appeased through flattery, through material gifts, through rituals and rites and sacrifices. 

Jesus tells us to stop perceiving these dark companions but rather to ask for and accept the Great Light which surrounds each one of us and shines out through us.  We are to deny the dark companions the spotlight in which they crave.  We are to stop worshipping them, stop cherishing them, stop accepting them in place of the light of God’s Love. 

God withholds nothing from us no matter what our egos do to hide us from Him.  God will never let us lose our way for He leads us.  We can wander away from the path of God, we can deny His Light, we can worship the false concepts of God which come in many forms, we can choose conflict and condemnation over peace and love.  But we cannot lose God.  For these are useless journeys which may stretch our stint in time but will not affect our eternity with Him.  The dark companions we may choose to fill our minds with shadows are simply lies, they are illusions, they are a smokescreen that cannot obscure the light of God forever! 

When we accept God’s Love, the little spark in us is united with the Light of God and darkness is removed from our consciousness forever.  We will not want anything to do with the dark companions that are so rampant in the world.  No matter what hold the need for conflict, confusion, and condemnation seem to have upon our mind, our mind is so full of light that peace, certainty, and love are ours forever.     

Our mind is the temple of God.  You can think that your body is God’s temple, but bodies are symbols of the ego.  They start out adorable enough for the most part, but they cannot prevail in time.  Because they symbolize the ego, their end is decay.  God’s temple is forever for God is forever.  When we are tempted to deny that our will is God’s Will, we will fall into fear and confusion.  We will make of a brother who does not agree with our spiritual insights an enemy.  We will think of him as a foe and our hearts will be fearful.  When we perceive the political climate of the world, we will mistakenly believe our function is to correct the world, to judge it, to make of this kingdom, God’s Kingdom.  We will make of this kingdom something which it simply cannot ever be – our home.  Jesus tells us when we are tempted to resort to conflict and condemnation, to remember that there are no other gods, there are no other kingdoms, there is no other reality or truth.  We are to accept His Will for us in peace – for if we are fighting senseless battles, if our minds are full of fear, attack thoughts, and arrogant judgments against this one and that one, we are not at peace and can therefore not accept God’s Will. 

Only Holy Spirit comforts us.  His peace is our peace, and we find it in the stillness and quietness where the Voice for God abides in us.  To have His peace we must give His peace.  Be holy for God is holy – for when we do and say wrongful things we are disrespecting God Who made us to be like Him.  We do not bring our grudges to God and ask Him to go after our enemies, we bring our grudges to God and lay them down and ask Him to fill our hearts with love and forgiveness for those whom we cannot love without Him.  We ask for correction for ourselves and those who hold our human error against us.  We do not ask for special favors for our people, our sports team, our side in the needless battles of the world.  We do not get ourselves worked up into a frenzy over politics, social unrest, or the causes of the world.  We put down all of our plotting and scheming – for this is not mutuality and it is not holy.  We can find no comfort in this world.  If you political candidate wins the election, any comfort your derive from it will be snatched away when your idol fails you.  Leave God out of this kingdom for He was never in it, nor does He want to be insinuated into it by our projections.  When we pray for His Kingdom to come, His Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven, we are praying that we accept His Kingdom in our earthly domain for this is our salvation from it. 

Our minds must be pure to know God and to know what belongs to us as His Son.  We are to diligently guard our minds from the dark companions that would insinuate themselves into our consciousness and whisper of conflict and specialness, shame and sorrow. 

Be very careful of any messages that put you above your brothers.  Guard your mind and heart from accepting flattery and praise.  Do not credit yourself when your prayers are answered for a particular person – for when we pray for a particular person, all of the Sonship prays with us.  We are not special in God’s eyes; nor should we be special in each other’s eyes.  All of our brothers come with us, we do not let one behind, for if we would let some behind, we are excluding ourselves from the Presence of God. 

Today in your personal devotional practice, bless the entire Sonship with the light our Father placed in you.  Do not say I will bless everyone except the people I don’t like but bless them in particular.  Call them by name.  Ask Holy Spirit to overlook their mistakes, their cruelty, their wrongdoing and give all your hard feelings, your stony heart, your sense of hurt and shame to the Comforter Who will whisk the shadows away in the light of your Father’s love.  When we withhold God’s Love from nobody for any reason we enter the secret place of the Most High, sheltered from all storms, protected from all strife.  Blessing the Sonship, honoring the Creation, becoming perfectly peaceful, harmless, and helpful we use time on behalf of eternity, which is exactly what we are called to do!

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11. God or the ego. III. From darkness to light. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 198-200.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego

II. The Invitation to Healing

  1. If sickness is separation, the decision to heal and to be healed is the first step toward recognizing what you truly want.  Every attack is a step away from this, and every healing thought brings it closer.  The Son of God has both Father and Son because he is both Father and Son.  To unite having and being is to unite your will with His, for He wills you Himself.  And you will yourself to Him because, in your perfect understanding of Him, you know there is, but one Will.  Yet when you attack any part of God and His Kingdom your understanding is not perfect, and what you really want is therefore lost to you. 
  2. Healing thus becomes a lesson in understanding, and the more you practice it the better teacher and learner you become.  If you have denied truth, what better witnesses to its reality could you have than those who have been healed by it?  But be sure to count yourself among them, for in your willingness to join them is your healing accomplished.  Every miracle that you accomplish speaks to you of the Fatherhood of God.  Every healing thought that you accept, either from your brother or in your own mind, teaches you that you are God’s Son.  In every hurtful thought you hold, wherever you perceive it, lies the denial of God’s Fatherhood and of your Sonship.
  3. And denial is as total as love.  You cannot deny part of yourself, because the rest will seem to be separate and therefore without meaning.  And being without meaning to you, you will not understand it.  To deny meaning is to fail to understand.  You can heal only yourself, for only God’s Son needs healing.  You need it because you do not understand yourself, and therefore know not what you do.  Having forgotten your will, you do not know what you really want.
  4. Healing is a sign that you want to make whole.  And this willingness opens your ears to the Voice of the Holy Spirit, Whose message is wholeness.  He will enable you to go far beyond the healing you would undertake, for beside your small willingness to make whole He will lay His Own complete Will and make yours whole.  What can the Son of God not accomplish with the Fatherhood of God in Him?  And yet the invitation must come from you, for you have surely learned that whom you invite as your guest will abide with you.
  5. The Holy Spirit cannot speak to an unwelcoming host because He will not be heard.  The Eternal Guest remains, but His Voice grows faint in alien company.  He needs your protection, only because your care is a sign that you want Him.  Think like Him ever so slightly, and the little spark becomes a blazing light that fills your mind so that He becomes your only Guest.  Whenever you ask the ego to enter, you lesson His welcome.  He will remain, but you have allied yourself against Him.  Whatever journey you choose to take, He will go with you, waiting.  You can safely trust His patience, for He cannot leave a part of God.  Yet you need far more than patience.
  6. You will never rest until you know your function and fulfill it, for only in this can your will and your Father’s be wholly joined.  To have Him is to be like Him, and He has given Himself to you.  You who have God must be as God, for His function became yours with His gift.  Invite this knowledge back into your mind and let nothing that obscures it enter.  The Guest Whom God sent you will teach you how to do this, if you but recognize the little spark and are willing to let it grow.  Your willingness need not be perfect, because His is.  If you will merely offer Him a little place, He will lighten it so much that you will gladly let it be increased.  And by this increase, you will begin to remember creation.
  7. Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God? You will accept only whom you invite.  You are free to determine who shall be your guest, and how long he shall remain with you. Yet this is not real freedom, for it still depends on how you see it. The Holy Spirit is there, although He cannot help you without your invitation.  And the ego is nothing, whether you invite it in or not.  Real freedom depends on welcoming reality, and of your guests only the Holy Spirit is real.  Know, then, Who abides with you merely by recognizing what is there already, and do not be satisfied with imaginary comforters, for the Comforter of God is in you.[1] 

When we come to the place in our journey where we no longer have any desire to harm others in any way, when we realize that the source of our angst, our sorrow, our sickness comes from our acceptance of the dog-eat-dog nature of the ego’s realm – we have made the first step in recognizing that God’s Will is our will.  Those attack thoughts that the ego arouses in the dark part of our minds, the lower mind, the part that cannot stand the “other,” because they are dirty, they pick their nose, they scratch their crotches, they don’t love Jesus – must be recognized for what they are.  They are attacks; they are not inspired of God and they are a denial of God and the Sonship. 

Forgiving thoughts, overlooking thoughts, loving thoughts take us beyond our human perception.  This kind of thinking helps us to recognize what we truly want.  We must welcome this kind of thinking into our minds for the practice of the mind of Christ, while the only real choice we have, has become unnatural in the world of ego.  Ego would make this practice one of weakness, sport, and ridicule.  Ego sneers at goodness because goodness is free of ego, goodness offers ego nothing on which to grasp, to sustain itself.  Ego would have us getting caught up in attack thoughts, mockery thoughts, condemning thoughts sinking our minds deeper into depression, sickness, and the black empty pit of despair rather than recognize our Sonship with God and our brotherhood in Christ. 

Instead of seeing each other through the hard, cruel eyes of condemnation, humiliation and scorn, we begin to see past the human wreckage and recognize the spark of God within each one of us.  We see past the bad manners, the gross behaviors, the uncouth words and deeds and we see God.  We will know what we really want when we practice looking upon others only with the mutuality and goodwill of the Brotherhood of Christ.    

Practicing the mutuality we share as Sons of God, heals us.  It deepens our understanding of the conditions of God’s Kingdom.  The more we practice seeing the spark of God in others, the better we get at it.  Our healing is a witness to those who have denied the truth about God, the ones who have sickened themselves on false concepts of God.  We are to count ourselves among the healed and the healers – for our will to join them is our healing.  I take this to mean get over any false modesty that would dim your awareness and discount your place in God’s Kingdom.  Be careful of idolizing the “masters.”  There are no masters in God’s Kingdom – we are all called to bring our spark and join it with others.  We are not to fall into the trap that we are just not spiritually advanced enough to teach God’s truth – we are to start where we are and not be afraid of our imperfect, awkward, limited understanding but trust in ourselves and in God to teach us as we teach others to be unafraid of their process. 

There is no competition in God’s Kingdom.  There are no pets, no elect, no argument about who gets to sit on the throne next to God’s.  These are egotistical ideas that do not heal but sicken us and turn us against each other.  We are not here to putdown others in order to make ourselves look better.  During the past year when we were practicing social distancing, I had the great joy of being part of a few online ACIM groups from around the world.  However, I was taken aback to find that the same patterns of behavior that come up in the more secular mindsets are also expressed in sincere students and devoted teachers of the Course.  When we treat others as if they are less than us because we have had our nose in the Course for much longer than them, because we have a teaching degree, because we follow a particular ACIM “Master,” expressing shock and dismay that others have not been taught of this popular teacher or that one – we are denying God.  We are denying the Sonship.  We are not healing; we are hurting ourselves and others.  We think that there is something valuable in separation. We fail to see what the spark in those who do not impress us has to teach us.    

Jesus tells us in paragraph three that denial is as total as love. We cannot deny part of the Sonship without the Sonship losing its meaning to us.  Once the Sonship loses its meaning to us, there will be no understanding of it.  We are back to square one again, repeating the same old patterns of exclusiveness, perceiving through the eyes of flesh, getting caught up in the causes of the world that would get us to point fingers of blame and shame.  We will sail along thinking we are spiritually advancing, only to find that our light is growing dimmer as our understanding weakens.  Instead of healing others, we need healing, because we have forgotten what we really are and what we really want.    

Healing signifies that we want to be whole and to make whole.  We no longer want to lord it over our brothers, we want to be one with them.  We are no longer willing to curse God’s Creation, accepting the ego’s bleak forecasts, accusations, and perversions as truth – we want only Creation as God created it.  When we get to this point, we can hear the Voice for God – the still, quiet, calm Voice of Holy Spirit will teach us wholeness.  We may be able to train our minds to reject attack thoughts; we may be able to train our minds to stay fixed upon the more positive things in the world; we may even be able to maintain peace of mind through meditation, through practicing good mental health habits; and avoiding those who would pull us down.  But with Holy Spirit as our Guide we go far beyond the earthly rewards of a calm mind – we get the complete Will of God, we are made whole, we are given the Sonship of God and the love, the joy, the peace that lasts beyond this plane and encompasses everything. 

Ask for Holy Spirit, dear brothers.  Invite the Holy Guest to abide with you, for Holy Spirit does not boorishly butt in where He is not wanted.  Holy Spirit is not clamorous, loud, or attention-seeking.  It is very easy to overlook the attributes of Holy Spirit, for Holy Spirit has nothing that sustains the ego or satisfies its cravings.  And yet the quiet attributes of love, joy, and peace, of meaning, purpose, and wholeness are what we really want – all we must do is ask!

Caring for Holy Spirit is a sign of our welcome.  Just as we provide all the comforts of home to our guests when they come to visit, preparing delicious meals and drinks, planning fun activities, and providing clean sheets and towels – so must we care for Holy Spirit in our lives.  Thinking with Holy Spirit, our mind fills with His Light, He becomes not our Holy Guest, but He becomes us as we become Him!  The quiet Voice for God requires peace to be heard.  We cannot hear Holy Spirit in the unbridled clamor of the ego.  When ego enters our mind, we have allied against our Holy Guest – and while He never leaves us or forsakes us, we need far more than merely His patience to heal and be healed. 

For we will simply never find peace until we realize our function – to heal and to be healed – this is the path that joins us wholly with God.  To have God in us is to be like God – He has given Himself to us.  We must be as God for His function became our function when He gave us His Voice, His Spirit, His Son.  Let nothing keep you from acknowledging this truth!  Let nothing that would deride, denigrate, or destroy this knowledge enter your thoughts for as we recognize the spark of God within us we will want to let it grow, and Holy Spirit will teach us how to do this when we ask.  It may feel awkward at first to think of ourselves as more than a fruitcake taken out of the oven too soon, a miserable sinner saved by grace, but brothers, God has given us Himself.  Do not let the ego tell you that you are less than what God created you to be.  Offer your willingness to let this knowledge, this truth grow in you and Holy Spirit will reveal the memory of creation to you. 

Hostage to the ego or host to God?  We will accept whom we invite – it seems like freedom – this choice, but it is only freedom because in this realm the ego seems like a real choice.  In the reality of God, the ego is nothing whether we invite it in or not – for the ego is that which opposes truth.  Being the opposite of truth, ego is merely a bluff, a scam, a ruse, a lie. 

Welcoming Holy Spirit, we find Holy Spirit is already there, waiting for our embrace, waiting for us to give up our fictional, perceptual, imaginary comforters.  Real freedom comes from the real Comforter, Which being of God has never left us and never will. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. II The invitation to healing. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 197-198.

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego

I.  The Gifts of Fatherhood 6-11

6. God has given you a place in His Mind that is yours forever.  Yet you can keep it only by giving it, as it was given you.  Could you be alone there, when it was given you because God did not will to be alone?   God’s Mind cannot be lessened.  It can only be increased, for everything He creates has the function of creating.  Love does not limit, and what it creates is not limited.  To give without limit is God’s Will for you, because only this can bring you the joy that is His and that He wills to share with you.  Your love is as boundless as His because it is His.

7. Could any part of God be without His Love, and could any part of His Love be contained?  God is your heritage, because His one gift is Himself.  How can you give except like Him if you would know His gift to you?  Give, then, without limit and without end, to learn how much He has given you.  Your ability to accept Him depends on your willingness to give as He gives.  Your fatherhood and your Father are one.  God wills to create, and your will is His.  It follows, then, that you will to create since your will follows from His.  And being an extension of His Will, yours must be the same. 

8. Yet what you will you do not know.  This is not strange when you realize that to deny is to “not know.”  God’s Will is that you are His Son.  By denying this you deny your own will, and therefore do not know what it is.  You must ask what God’s Will is in everything because it is yours.  You do not know what it is, but the Holy Spirit remembers it for you.  Ask Him, therefore, what God’s Will is for you, and He will tell you yours.  It cannot be too often repeated that you do not know it.  Whenever what the Holy Spirit tells you appears to be coercive, it is only because you have not recognized your will.

9. The projection of the ego makes it appear as if God’s Will is outside yourself, and therefore not yours.  In this interpretation it seems possible for God’s Will and yours to conflict.  God, then, may seem to demand of you what you do not want to give, and thus deprive you of what you want.  Would God, Who wants only your will, be capable of this?  Your will is His life, which He has given to you.  Even in time you cannot live apart from Him.  Sleep is not death.  What He created can sleep but cannot die.  Immortality is His Will for His Son, and His Son’s will for himself.  God’s Son cannot will death for himself because his Father is Life, and His Son is like Him.  Creation is your will because it is His.

10. You cannot be happy unless you do what you will truly, and you cannot change this because it is immutable.  It is immutable by God’s Will and yours, for otherwise His Will would not be extended.  You are afraid to know God’s Will, because you believe it is not yours.  This belief is your whole sickness and your whole fear.  Every symptom of sickness and fear arises here because this is the belief that makes you want not to know.  Believing this you hide in darkness, denying that the light is in you.

11. You are asked to trust the Holy Spirit only because He speaks for you.  He is the Voice for God, but never forget that God did not will to be alone.  He shares His Will with you; He does not thrust it upon you.  Always remember that what He gives He keeps, so that nothing He gives can contradict Him.  You who share His Life must share it to know it, for sharing is knowing.  Blessed are you who learn that to hear the Will of your Father is to know your own.  For it is your will to be like Him, Whose Will it is that it be so.  God’s Will is that His Son be one, and united with Him in His Oneness.  That is why healing is the beginning of the recognition that your will is His. [1]

Our place in God’s Kingdom is ours forever and the only way we know our place is by giving others their place, just as it was given to us.  We cannot keep others out of the Kingdom of God simply because we think we are better and more deserving than they are any more than we can keep ourselves out of the Kingdom by denying God His Creation.  Love has no limits; it has no boundaries; it has no stipulations except to create more of Itself.  To love without limit is both our joy and the joy of the Lord.  In God, our love is as eternal as God’s.  We extend it to all and for all and forever.  This may be hard for us to imagine at this point in our process.  We can all probably think of several people who seem incapable of accepting or deserving of our love.  But we are not speaking of our human love which has all kinds of stipulations and needs all kinds of boundaries in order to protect us.  We are speaking of the invulnerable love of God.  We do not have to understand it, only to ask for it and to accept it – for this is our wills being one with God. 

We do not have to be afraid of His Love. Humans and the human experience cannot abide in God’s love – He does not ask our human to love with God, for this is impossible.  Jesus requires that our Spirits love with God.  This means that there are some people we love in the Spirit but have no obligation to them in the flesh.  We can love our exes for example without any obligation to continue to have sex with them, to waste our time with their wishy-washy, or to let them back in our homes.  We can bear others the goodwill of God without allowing them to drain our finances, thwart our plans, or stand in the way of our happiness.  When we love others in the Spirit, neither do we obligate them to us or demand their money, time, or effort.  We practice the freedom that God’s Love allows us.  We do not interfere in the process of others or judge them if they have not learned the same lessons we have yet, nor do we allow them to scold or rebuke us for the lessons we have not mastered. 

None of us can be without God’s Love.  None of us have a right to try to hoard it for ourselves and our own little tribe or group.  God is our heritage!  Not our family name, our motherland, our traditions, or the culture in which we were raised.  We give this to all without judgment.  The only thing we judge is the condition of the world without God – it is a condition that affects us all and cannot be blamed on any one group of people.  None of us are more or less privileged than others.  This is a ruse of the ego which entraps us in hating and pointing fingers of blame and shame on each other instead of extending love, joy, and peace, which is God’s Will for us and our will with God.  Extending the love, joy, and peace of God’s Kingdom is the only way to happiness.

In paragraph eight, Jesus tells us that we do not seem to know what will make us happy.  We say I want to be happy, but we can’t say what exactly it takes to make us so.  We will pray for God’s Will in our life as if it is something we have to get from the perceptual world.  It can become quite silly praying for God’s Will – thinking that God cares which grocery store we buy our groceries from, or which garage we go to repair our cars.  We may think that only giving Christian enterprises our business is God’s Will.  We may think that going to other countries to spread the word of God is God’s Will and completely overlook the opportunities all around us to extend love, peace, and joy. 

Ask Holy Spirit for the Will of God, and He will tell you because otherwise the ego thought system will snatch it from your memory and you will be tempted to think that it is out there in the world somewhere waiting for you to find it.  There is nothing at all coercive about the Will of God.  It is always what brings us joy, happiness, and peace. 

Our will and God’s Will must be one for God has given us our will.  Even in our stint in time we do not live apart from Him for sleep is not death.  All around us people seem to be dying but it is only their human forms that can deform, destruct, and decay.  We can dream of death but that does not make it real.  We could never be happy in dreams of death unless we are looking past the dreams of death, nor should we strive to be happy with harmfulness of any kind.  We can only be happy in the Kingdom which is everlasting.  Where Creation cannot be destroyed; where Creation never dies, where opposites and opposition have no place. 

Extending help and harmlessness in this realm is the equivalent of creating love and peace and joy in God’s Kingdom.  If we are afraid of God’s Will, we are afraid of God.  We still think that He is out to get us and to put us through the wringer to prove our love for Him.  We still believe in the kind of God that would make us suffer humiliations and torture and go places and do things that we dread.  This kind of thinking makes us sick.  It makes us afraid of God and unable to love Him perfectly for we cannot trust such an image.  Our idolatry is more than just an image of a particular saint or the Mother Mary or the gods of one country or another, our idolatry is the false image we have of God our Father in our minds.  When we think of God as an abuser, as a bully, as a bloodthirsty warmonger, who demands sacrifices and punishes rather than forgives and corrects our mistakes, no matter how many times we go to church, no matter how much time we spend in prayer, no matter how much we read our holy texts – we deny the reality of God and we deny the reality of the light and love that is in all of us, in all of His Creation. 

Holy Spirit is both the Voice for God and the Voice for you and for me.  Learn to listen to the still, quiet, knowing Voice which will never withhold God’s Will from us nor lead us to do things that are ridiculous and shameful in the name of God.  Do not mistake the chatter and clamor of the ego for the Voice for God in your life.  Ego will tell us all kinds of flattering things about ourselves, ego will tell us how special we are to God.  We are spiritual masters, ego will whisper in our ear, gifted with spiritual insights that others simply do not understand.  Ego will tell us to leave our homes and families and other responsibilities and go to work for God in other places – being a hero to some and a complete jerk to others!  Ego will tell us that it is okay for us to fly away with Jesus and let everybody behind to suffer the shame and tortures of lost humanity.  Ego will flop us about, making us bored, dissatisfied, and discouraged with the calm, peaceful, certainty that is of God.  Ego, disguising itself as the Voice for God will give us impossible assignments, plague our mind with worry and fret, afraid we are not doing enough for God’s Kingdom.  Ego will then get its jollies from chastising us for not meeting its demands.  This is all a distraction from the Will of God which is accepting that we are one with God because we are His Son.  

Accepting that our will is God’s Will is the beginning of our healing for we are no longer running and hiding from God, but we are going toward Him, because we have changed our mind about Who and What He really is and what He expects from His Son. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. I The gifts of fatherhood 6-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or The Ego

1.  The Gifts of Fatherhood 1-5

  1. You have learned your need of healing.  Would you bring anything else to the Sonship, recognizing your need of healing for yourself?  For in this lies the beginning of the return to knowledge; the foundation on which God will help build again the thought system you share with Him.  Not one stone you place upon it but will be blessed by Him, for you will be restoring the holy dwelling place of His Son, where He Wills His Son to be and where he is.  In whatever part of the mind of God’s Son you restore this reality, you restore it to yourself.  You dwell in the Mind of God with your brother, for God Himself did not will to be alone.
  2. To be alone is to be separated from infinity, but how can this be if infinity has no end?  No one can be beyond the limitless because what has no limits must be everywhere.  There are no beginnings and no endings in God, Whose universe is Himself.  Can you exclude yourself from the universe, or from God Who is the universe?  I and my Father are one with you, for you are part of us.  Do you really believe that part of God can be missing or lost to Him?
  3. If you were not part of God, His Will would not be unified.  Is this conceivable?  Can part of his Mind contain nothing?  If your place in His Mind cannot be filled by anyone except you, and your filling it was your creation, without you there would be an empty place in God’s Mind.  Extension cannot be blocked, and it has no voids.  It continues forever, however much it is denied.  Your denial of its reality may arrest it in time, but not in eternity.  That is why your creations have not ceased to be extended, and why so much is waiting for your return.
  4. Waiting is possible only in time, but time has no meaning.  You who made delay can leave time behind simply by recognizing that neither beginnings nor endings were created by the Eternal, Who placed no limits on His creation or upon those who create like Him.  You do not know this simply because you have tried to limit what He created, and so you believe that all creation is limited.  How, then, could you know your creations, having denied infinity?
  5. The laws of the universe do not permit contradiction.  What holds for God holds for you.  If you believe you are absent from God, you will believe that He is absent from you.  Infinity is meaningless without you, and you are meaningless without God.  There is no end to God and His Son, for we are the universe.  God is not incomplete, and He is not childless.  Because He did not will to be alone, He created a Son like Himself.  Do not deny Him His Son, for your unwillingness to accept His Fatherhood has denied you yours.  See His creations as His Son, for yours were created in honor of Him.  The universe of love does not stop because you do not see it, nor have your closed eyes lost the ability to see.  Look upon the glory of His creation, and you will learn what God has kept for you.[1]

Jesus starts today’s text reading with the assertion that we have learned our need of healing.  This is what we bring to the Sonship.  We cannot return to the Sonship holding on to our sickness and calling it our “individuality,” our “human rights,” our particular take on how much our identification with the color of our skin, the gender of our bodies, our sexual preferences, or our professions in the world matters.  We cannot have what God has for us as long as we are yammering that we have a right to our addictions, that we have a right to our specialness, that we have a right to author ourselves and to make up our own versions of God. The only thing that matters in our return to God is that we know our need for healing. 

We are prodigals and we seem far from Home.  We cannot go home dragging this world with us and asking God to intervene in our special causes.  We let all of that behind.  We are restored when we are willing to say, “Please heal me, Father and take away all that would sicken me and deprive me of You.” 

When we see our brother struggling with the constant barrage of issues that seem to arise in this bad dream, we do not judge and condemn him, but rather the ego thought system which has sickened him.  Practicing this and teaching this is our way to restore our awareness of what we are in God. 

Nothing that belongs to God can be apart from Him.  We are not cast out of His Kingdom; we are simply asleep and dreaming the dream of what could be so if it were possible to make up our own version of reality. We can sail along in our fantasies for only so long until they turn against us, viciously and without respite.  For some of us, just a little taste of the savageness of the ego can awaken us to our need for healing; for others, the savagery becomes their god for whom they are willing to enslave themselves.  No matter where we find ourselves on that spectrum, sickness is sickness, and we are all in need of healing.  There is no point in comparing ourselves to others and judging who can still be saved and who is past redemption – being past the point of redemption is impossible with the creations of God, for no one can be missing or be lost to Him.

You have a place in God’s Mind which can only be filled by you, even as I have a place in God’s Mind which can only be filled by me.  We were created to fill our spots and without us, those spots would be empty.  This is an impossibility for creation can never be messed with – it goes on forever extending itself, whether we are aware of it or not. 

We can leave time behind by recognizing and accepting that beginnings and endings were not created by the Eternal who placed no boundaries on Creation or those who create like Him.  We are not aware of this in our human state.  In our human condition, we are not without boundaries.  We must follow the rules, we must not overtax ourselves, we can only go so far and extend ourselves so little before we need replenishment and respite.  Our human forms do not hold up in time but rather age and wither and disintegrate.  We make the mistake of believing that all of creation is limited because in our physical world we are limited.  We do not know our own creations because trapped in the limited perceptions of humanity, we are blind to the love, the peace, the joy we have extended and that goes on extending throughout eternity. 

What holds for God, holds for us, His Creation.  There are no contradictions.  When we believe we are absent from God, we believe that He is absent from us.  This cannot be for Jesus tells us that eternity is meaningless without each one of us and we are meaningless without God – we are part of the universe, we are the universe, we are part of the Sonship, we are the Sonship. 

Denying God as Father does not stop the universe of love anymore than refusing to see all of Creation as His Son gives us the right to judge and condemn our brothers.  When we look with the Vision of Christ upon the world, we see the glory of God’s Creation, we glimpse what God has kept for us beyond the world of perception.  We see that with or without our awareness all that we have in God was never lost nor has it gone missing.  It is not being held for us in a closed and locked vault awaiting our return, but it is being used by God, increasing and extending outward and gaining value.  This is our inheritance in Him.  Denying ourselves this does not make it go away. 

In your personal devotions today, recognize your need of healing.  Ask Holy Spirit to make you aware of any shreds of ego which are tempting your mind to castigate you and your brothers rather than to see yourself and others as sickened by this world and in need of return to God.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate our text reading to you so that you will recognize the gifts of Fatherhood that await us when we return our hearts and minds to Him.  Bring Him your humanity and lay it upon the altar of your mind.  Accept your divinity that God has been keeping for you, awaiting your return. Be courageous in your walk to God and in God.  Thrust upon Him all the sickness, perversions, meanness, and ignorance that the ego would make you out to be and let Him show you what you really are in His Mind and in His Kingdom. 

This is what we bring to God.  It is the foundation of our restoration and redemption.  We bring Him our need of healing.  We can donate all manner of goods to the church, to the poor, to our favorite charities and causes, but all God wants from us is our humble recognition that we are sick in our hearts, our minds, our lives without Him. 

“Heal us, Dear Father, for without You we are nothing,” is not only the prayer of our awakening, but the foundation stone of our return to Him. 

“Dear Father, Open our eyes to what You have kept for us,” is the prayer of acceptance of what we are in His Kingdom.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. I The gifts of fatherhood. 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 11 God or the Ego


  1. Either God or the ego is insane. If you will examine the evidence on both sides fairly, you will realize this must be true. Neither God nor the ego proposes a partial thought system. Each is internally consistent, but they are diametrically opposed in all respects so that partial allegiance is impossible. Remember, too, that their results are as different as their foundations, and their fundamentally irreconcilable natures cannot be reconciled by vacillations between them. Nothing alive is fatherless for life is creation. Therefore, your decision is always an answer to the question, who is my father? And you will be faithful to the father you choose.
  2. Yet what would you say to someone who believe this question really involves conflict? If you made the ego, how can the ego have made you? The authority problem is still the only source of conflict because the ego was made out of the wish of God’s Son to father Him. The ego, then, is nothing more than a delusional system in which you made your own father.  Make no mistake about this.  It sounds insane when it is stated with perfect honesty, but the ego never looks on what it does with perfect honesty. Yet that is its insane premise, which is carefully hidden in the dark cornerstone of its thought system. And either the ego, which you made, is your father, or its whole thought system will not stand.
  3. You make by projection, but God creates by extension. The cornerstone of God’s creation is you, for His thought system is light. Remember the Rays that are there unseen. The more you approach the center of His thought system, the clearer the light becomes. The closer you come to the foundation of the ego’s thought system, the darker and more obscure becomes the way. Yet even the little spark in your mind is enough to lighten it. Bring this light fearlessly with you, and bravely hold it up to the foundation of the ego’s thought system. Be willing to judge it with perfect honesty. Open the dark cornerstone of terror on which it rests and bring it out into the light. There you will see that it rested on meaninglessness, and that everything of which you have been afraid was based on nothing.
  4. My brother, you are part of God and part of me. When you have at last looked at the ego’s foundation without shrinking you will also have looked upon ours. I come to you from our Father to offer you everything again. Do not refuse it in order to keep a dark cornerstone hidden, for its protection will not save you. I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, who has need of you, as I have. Will you not answer the call of love with joy?[1]

We cannot be of God and the ego for one cancels out the other.  There is no yin and yang in the eternal.  There is no equal parts suffering and joy, darkness and light, or death and life.  This may be the way we condition ourselves to tolerate the darkness of the world, but it cannot be everlasting for the ego requires as total allegiance to its thought system as that of God! 

In Louise Penny’s beloved Chief Inspector Gamache series, she writes about Dr. Vincent Gilbert, a character whom the other characters refer to as the asshole saint.  This fellow abandoned his responsibilities toward his wife and children, extended family and friends, and his patients and practice as a surgeon, to run off to find himself in a community of Down’s Syndrome patients.  He wrote widely about his experience in the community and became known worldwide for his sacrifice, his work, his spiritual insights, and the gifts that he brought to the community.  However, in his great effort to find himself through good works, he failed to lay his ego down.  Dr. Vincent Gilbert took it with him, and it remained with him, making him of him a ridiculous character, devoted to one part of the Sonship on the one hand, and disliking and being an “asshole” to the rest.  The ego’s function is not to create, but to usurp, cancel out, and oppose the things of God.  There is nothing creative in destruction.  It needs a created being in order to exist at all for it is a leech, a parasite, a virus, we could say.  It needs a host. 

The ego seeks to be our Father, but it cannot be our Father for it is a thief, it does not have anybody’s best interest at heart, and left to its own devices, eventually devours itself, and begins its hypnotic, go-nowhere cycles all over again, symbolized best in mythology as the ouroboros, the reptilian creature which would devour its own tail.[2]

Lies cannot stand alone, they must be an offshoot of truth, lies must be embraced and upheld, cherished and petted, cooed over and worshipped.  Creation which was made in joy, to be love, joy, and peace forever would deny the Fatherhood of God and prefer to genuflect before fictional gods of fear, hatred, sorrow, and war in order to author itself.  It would be like me, stealing your work, putting my name on it, denying you any credit, and taking all the glory.  In order to conceal the truth about my illicit deed, I must decry your name, project my thievery upon you, and obscure the truth about you and your work in every way possible to keep my sin hidden while still taking the credit for your creation.

Understanding the invulnerability of truth, you could simply withdraw from the battle over who created your work.  Instead of taking me to court, spending thousands of dollars on legal fees, and besmirching your own name by becoming vicious, defensive, and devoting your life not to creating other works, but trying to get the one I took from you back, you could just wait it out. 

For I will not be the author of your work and will not know it the way you know it.  I will not love it the way you love it.  I will not be able to devote myself to it the way you devoted yourself to it, nor will I be able to produce another product that matches your work.  Because I chose to steal the creation of another, I will not live in peace, I will not enjoy the sense of accomplishment and contribution of a true author, nor will I be able to tolerate the accomplishments and contributions of other creators, I will not enjoy the fellowship of other creators.  I will always be waiting for the day the truth of the matter is exposed.  

Meanwhile, if you chose peace, you go on to create other works equal to or even better than the one I stole from you.  Your light continues to shine.  You do not let my thievery and my spin on things dim your light but only make it brighter.  Instead of perceiving yourself as a victim, you choose to “give” your work to me and let the gift spur you to even greater works.  This way there is no wasted time, money, or effort spent in conflict, because you chose peace. While this is my earthy attempt to illustrate the peace of God, the patience of God, the wisdom of the freedom He bestows upon us that would deny His Fatherhood and be separated from His truth, my hope is that you will see that there is no conflict.  He gives us what we would have stolen from Him.  He gives us the freedom to explore our fiction and opposition and live it out in a realm that is governed by the false gods of ego.  He is sure of our return to Him over time for none of us would deny Him, would blaspheme Him, would separate ourselves from Him, if we remembered the Reality of His love and devotion. 

This is the only conflict which truly presents itself to us in the world.  Did we make ourselves and thus create our own gods? Did we make “our own father,” which is the underpinning of the entire delusional belief system of the ego.  This takes many forms, but all are the denial of God and Sonship.  It is a denial of love, peace, and joy and the eternal goodwill of God toward His own creation.  We would rather make overgrown, crybaby-turtle gods than to accept God as Father.  A Father who patiently awaits our awakening, tenderly calls for our return to Him, and never withholds His love and devotion.  We have come to embrace the death, sorrow, and torments of the kingdom in which we made for ourselves, we have come to accept our bondage to our own fiction, to our flesh, to our predatory egos. That which is unnatural, insane, and cruel has been packaged into a neat little plastic-wrapped tasty morsel which belies the sorrow, the pain, the bloodshed that is its foundation stone. 

We are the cornerstone of God’s creation.  His thought system has no darkness, no ill will, no bloodthirsty desire for His own.  He loves His creation and calls for them to come to His light.  Jesus says that the Rays of His light are in us even though we cannot see them with our flesh eyes or fathom them with our human perception.  The closer we move toward the core of God’s thought system, the brighter the light in us becomes.  We find peace, we find love, we find joy in that light. We find our true and holy Selves.

The closer we get to the foundation of the ego’s thought system, on the other hand, the darker and nastier and more obscure is the way.  We can be drawn to the light and we can be drawn to the shadows, but to go in both directions is to cancel out any advance in either direction and to remain in the cycles of ego. Preying upon one another for a mere temporal existence with meaningless birth and death cycles that do not extend God’s Kingdom but rather keep us locked in a closed and crowded vicious cycle of disease, decay, and death. 

We are to be fearless with our little sparks of God within us.  We are to put them together and expose the ego’s delusions for what they are.  We are not to let our lights be smothered by fear of the dark hordes of iniquity, the inquisitions, the terror and the torments designed for those who bravely judge the ego’s thought system with perfect honesty.  When we expose the dark dreadful cornerstone where the ego’s belief system rests, we will see the meaninglessness, the emptiness, the bogeyman will shrivel before us, and be as nothing. 

For we are not flesh and blood, we are not male and female, we are not black and white, Greek and Jew.  We are so beyond what the ego has made us out to be.  When we can face the ego’s foundation without fear, without shrinking, without quaking in our shoes when it seems to lash out against us, we will know ourselves as God knows us, as Christ knows us. We will know ourselves as holy and as spirit, and not of flesh. 

Christ comes again.  He returns to the ego realm, not in the clouds to take the few, but in our minds and hearts to deliver us all.  Do not refuse Him.  Keep no dark cornerstones hidden in your mind and heart for its lies will not protect you nor will it save you.  Ask Holy Spirit to expose all that would make of your mind a trough, a manger, a place in which the beastly ego would feed and sustain itself.  Look on it without fear and without trembling and say No More. 

Jesus gives us the light and He goes with us as we return our minds and hearts to God.  We do not take this journey alone – no matter how many people disagree with us, threaten us, forecast doom and gloom, no matter how our egos scream and put up a fuss and tell us how nuts we are for throwing our lives away on Jesus, when we could have the world by the tail!  Christ leads the way to our true Father and our true Identity in Him.  We are necessary to the salvation of the world for without you and without me, the world cannot be saved.  No one is left behind for God does not abandon, go to battle, or shirk His responsibility toward His Creation – nor are we expected to fly away with Jesus and let our loved ones behind.  Accept this call of love with happiness and glee and great appreciation and do not be afraid, do not be timid, do not be falsely modest and deny your worthiness to God, dear brothers.  We take our little lights and join them with the light of Christ and do our small part for God, in mutuality, in Sonship, in peace for these are the conditions of the Kingdom where we belong. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 11 God or the ego. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (p. 193-194).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 10 The Idols of Sickness

V.  The Denial of God 8-14

8.  Do not look to the god of sickness for healing but only to the God of love, for healing is the acknowledgement of Him. When you acknowledge Him, you will know that He has never ceased to acknowledge you, and that in His acknowledgement of you lies your being. You are not sick, and you cannot die. But you can confuse yourself with things that do. Remember, though, that to do this is blasphemy, for it means that you are looking without love on God and His creation, from which He cannot be separated.

9.  Only the eternal can be loved, for love does not die. What is of God is His forever, and you are of God. Would He allow himself to suffer?  And would he offer His son anything that is not acceptable to Him? If you will accept yourself as God created you, you will be incapable of suffering. Yet to do this you must acknowledge Him as your Creator. This is not because you will be punished otherwise. It is merely because your acknowledgement of your Father is the acknowledgement of yourself as you are.  Your Father created you wholly without sin, wholly without pain and wholly without suffering of any kind. If you deny Him you bring sin, pain, and suffering into your own mind because of the power He gave it. Your mind is capable of creating worlds, but it can also deny what it creates because it is free.

10.  You do not realize how much you have denied yourself, and how much God, in His love, would not have it so. Yet He would not interfere with you, because He would not know His Son if he were not free. To interfere with you would be to attack Himself, God is not insane. When you deny Him, you are insane. Would you have Him share your insanity? God will never cease to love His Son, and His Son will never cease to love Him. That was the condition of His Son’s creation, fixed forever in the mind of God. That is sanity. To deny it is insanity. God gave Himself to you in your creation, and His gifts are eternal. Would you deny yourself to Him?

11.  Out of your gifts to Him the Kingdom will be restored to His Son. His Son removed himself from His gift by refusing to accept what had been created for him, and what he had created in the Name of his Father.  Heaven waits for his return, for it was created as a dwelling place of God’s Son. You are not at home anywhere else, or in any other condition. Do not deny yourself the joy that was created for you for the misery you have made for yourself. God has given you the means for undoing what you have made.  Listen, and you will learn how to remember what you are.

12.  If God knows His children as wholly sinless, it is blasphemous to perceive them as guilty. If God knows His children has wholly without pain, it is blasphemous to perceive suffering anywhere. If God knows His children to be holy, it is blasphemous to feel depressed.  All of these illusions, and the many other forms that blasphemy may take, are refusals to accept creation as it is. If God created His Son perfect, that is how you must learn to see him to learn of his reality. And as part of the Sonship, that is how you must see yourself to learn of yours.

13.  Do not perceive anything God did not create, or you are denying Him. He is the only Fatherhood, and it is yours only because He has given it to you. Your gifts to yourself are meaningless, but your gifts to your creations are like His, because they are given in His Name. That is why your creations are as real as His. Yet the real Fatherhood must be acknowledged if the real Son is to be known. You believe that the sick things you have made are your real creations, because you believe that the sick images you perceive are the sons of God. Only if you accept the Fatherhood of God will you have anything, because His Fatherhood gave you everything. That is why to deny Him is to deny yourself.

14.  Arrogance is the denial of love, because love shares, and arrogance withholds. As long as both appear to you to be desirable, the concept of choice, which is not of God, will remain with you. While this is not true in eternity, it is true in time, so that while time lasts in your mind there will be choices. Time itself is your choice. If you would remember eternity, you must look only on the eternal. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time. As always, your choice is determined by what you value.  Time and eternity cannot both be real because they contradict each other, if you will accept only what is timeless as real, you will begin to understand eternity and make it yours.[1]

This world is incapable of healing us for it is this world which has made us sick.  Our healing comes from the God of Love.  Only when we accept that God is Love will we know His undying love and devotion for us, and it is in accepting this that we find our very Being.  We are not sick; we cannot die for that which is created by the God of Love cannot be perverted and it cannot die. 

Do not confuse yourself with things that are sick and that do die for this is the ultimate disrespect toward our Father.  When we think of ourselves as flesh and blood, bone and gristle, sick and disheartened, we are looking without love on all of creation.  We are accepting the perceptual world made by the lies and delusions of an insane mind bent on opposing all that is everlasting and pure.

Love does not die – it goes on forever – all things of God, and we are of God, are forever.  God has no desire for us to suffer nor did He desire His Son to suffer.  We must forsake all teachings that tell us that God ordained the crucifixion of Christ.  God does not require bloodshed and suffering to appease Him.  Christ suffered the crucifixion because His message of God’s Love seemed a rebuke to the religious orders of the day; he suffered the crucifixion to show us that even the most hideous of deaths, humiliation, and torments cannot kill God’s Son.  When we devote our mind to Christ, we accept our place in the Sonship of God.  We are incapable of suffering, our allegiance to the world of pain, suffering, and sorrow is over for we see it for what it is.  We know who we are because we know Who our Father is.  We were not created to be unholy, to suffer in any way, shape, or form, or to sacrifice our happiness and well-being.  To follow a god that says otherwise is to deny God and to bring thoughts of sin, shame, and sorrow into our perceptual world.

When we misuse our minds to make hellish worlds, where we love war, we love mouth battles, we stand about and say mean things and condemn others we prolong our stint in the very worlds we make.  The worlds we make may not be real in the eternal sense of the word but being trapped in such realms can certainly seem to go on forever! 

We are set free of our false kingdoms when we no longer want them.  God has nothing to do with what we have made to take the place of the Kingdom of God.  Do not see God in the events that happen here for to give God glory for anything at all that happens in this Kingdom is to deny Who and What He is.  One day you may seem to have all your prayers answered, but as long as there is one soul in the world that does not know of God’s Love, your pleasant dreams must not be mistaken for God’s favor.  God does not interfere with the dreams of His Son.  God does not come into our dreams and intervene on our behalf.  God is not in the weather no matter how pleasant and blissful the day may be.  God is not in the beauty of the moon or the beautiful face of our beloved.  God is not part of this dream, for if He were part of this dream, we would have an insane God who bestows health on one and disease upon another, who creates one person whole and deforms another.  It would seem as if God played tricks on us, giving first-world citizens obesity-related diseases while giving third world countries starvation-related diseases.  Let us not deny God by believing that He has anything to do with this made-up kingdom!  For this is insanity and God is not insane, but we are until we see the perceptual kingdom for what it is. 

Our return to sanity depends upon our acceptance of who and what we really are as God’s Son.  We are as God created us – Spirit and not flesh, fixed forever in the Mind of God.  Outside the Mind of God there is nothing and in that nothingness we falter and lose our minds – alone and adrift in a sea of invention and devices that being made of nothing amount to nothing.  

Our gift to God is accepting the laws of His Kingdom.  What are the laws of His Kingdom?  The acceptance of our mutuality, the laying down of our separateness, the putting away of any ideas that we can have and be more than everything there is.  Just as our eyes would be useless apart from the rest of our body, so are we useless without God, for we are part of His Kingdom but not all of His Kingdom.  Heaven awaits our return.

We have the means to undo all the lies that landed us in a perceptual world far from Home.  We can remember our true identity.  We can wake up to His Kingdom even while we live in this one:

Stop focusing on what other people are doing wrong – and know others as God knows them.  It is blasphemy to perceive others as they are perceived in this world.  We are to see others with the Vision of Christ – there are no ugly people, there are no disgusting people, there are no irksome people.  We are not to see sickness; we are to see health.  We are not to see sinners; we are to see saints.  We are not to see sorrow; we are to witness joy and gladness.  We will never know God as long as we look to the newsreels of this kingdom to determine what we believe and what we think because this world is a blasphemy against the Creation of God.  This world is what happens to the created when they refuse Creation.  Because God created you perfect, that is how I must learn to see you to learn of your reality.  As part of the Sonship of God, that is how I must see myself to learn of my own reality. 

Perceive anything in this world and we deny the Fatherhood of God and the fatherhood of all that we create in Him.  We can try to extend love, peace, and joy to ourselves all we want but no matter how much try, our gifts are meaningless until we extend them to others.  When we give to others we give in the name of God for nothing can be shared without Him. 

Make no mistake that the inventions in this world are not our creations.  Nor are the human forms of those we call friend and foe.  In the perceptual world everything is twisted and perverted apart from its original Creation.  To look upon the perceptual world as our truth and as our guide is to be misled and sadly mistaken.  The truth about you and the truth about me can only be found in accepting ourselves as Sons of God, our perfection is of Spirit and of truth.  We do not judge ourselves or others in the flesh but rather love one another for this is the law of the Kingdom.  If we accept anything else, we have nothing and we are nothing – to deny God is to deny ourselves. 

Egoism makes a mockery of love.  Egoism withholds love and does not share it unless there are stipulations met.  Love is commodity to the egotistical and the egotistical withhold love for they do not know what it is.  God is Love and God shares of Himself.  He does not withhold His Love for Love is What He is.  There is no choice in this matter.  To believe that there is a choice between ego and God is only a fiction that exists in time for to choose ego is to choose nothing; to choose God is to choose all things. 

We can choose however to stay in time for as long as we need to remember eternity and practice looking upon and learning only the eternal.  As long as we perceive this world, we are stuck in time.  Time and eternity cannot both be real because they contradict one another.  So when we are stuck in time, we are stuck in go-nowhere rounds of that which amounts to nothing.  Lots of stuff seems to happen, but nothing really does. 

As we come to the close of our text reading of Chapter 10 The Idols of Sickness, Jesus tells us that when we accept the timeless as real, will we begin to understand eternity and make it our own.  This is a drastic step in the right direction and will determine our freedom from the idols of the perceptual kingdom and open our mind to the reality of the eternal Kingdom.  In your personal devotions, ask Holy Spirit to help you to see beyond the perceptual kingdom to the eternal one beyond.  As we determine to look upon one another with love, we see beyond our human imperfections, our personality quirks, our egotistical strutting and striving and see the glory of God in each other.  Relating to the divine in each other is our salvation and our sure escape from the enchantment of the idols that pervert us and turn us against each other.  Relating to the divine in each other is our gift to God for He yearns to see His Sons at peace with one another – for peace is not only an attribute of God but our escape from the perverted kingdom.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The idols of sickness. V. The denial of God 8-14. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 10 The Idols of Sickness

IV.  The End of Sickness

  1. All magic is an attempt at reconciling the irreconcilable. All religion is the recognition that the irreconcilable cannot be reconciled. Sickness and perfection are irreconcilable. If God created you perfect, you are perfect. If you believe you can be sick you have placed other gods before him. God is not at war with the god of sickness you made, but you are. He is the symbol of deciding against God, and you are afraid of him because he cannot be reconciled with God’s Will. If you attack him, you will make him real to you. But if you refuse to worship him in whatever form he may appear to you, and wherever you think you see him, he will disappear into the nothingness out of which he was made.
  2. Reality can dawn upon only an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it. To know reality must involve the willingness to judge unreality for what it is. To overlook nothingness is merely to judge it correctly, and because of your ability to evaluate it truly, to let it go. Knowledge cannot dawn on a mind full of illusions because truth and illusions are irreconcilable. Truth is whole and cannot be known by part of a mind.
  3. The Sonship cannot be perceived as partly sick, because to perceive it that way is not to perceive it at all. If the Sonship is one, it is one in all respects. One cannot be divided. If you perceive other gods your mind is split, and you will not be able to limit the split, because it is a sign that you have removed part of your mind from God’s Will. This means it is out of control. To be out of control is to be out of reason, and then the mind does become unreasonable. By defining the mind wrongly, you perceive it turning wrongly.
  4. God’s laws will keep your mind at peace because peace is His Will, and His laws are established to uphold it. His are the laws of freedom, but yours are the laws of bondage. Since freedom and bondage are irreconcilable, their laws cannot be understood together. The laws of God work only for your good, and there are no other laws beside His. Everything else is merely lawless and therefore chaotic. Yet God Himself has protected everything He created by His laws. Everything that is not under them does not exist. “Laws of chaos” is a meaningless term. Creation is perfectly lawful and the chaotic is without meaning because it is without God. You have “given” your peace to the gods you made, but they are not there to take it from you, and you cannot give it to them.
  5. You are not free to give up freedom, but only to deny it. You cannot do what God did not intend, because what He did not intend does not happen. Your gods do not bring chaos. You are endowing them with chaos and accepting it of them. All this has never been. Nothing but the laws of God has ever been and nothing but His Will will ever be. You were created through His laws and by His Will, and the manner of your creation established you a creator. What you have made is so unworthy of you that you could hardly want it if you were willing to see it as it is. You will see nothing at all. And your vision will automatically look beyond it, to what is in you and all around you. Reality cannot break through the obstructions you interpose, but it will envelope you completely when you let them go.
  6. When you have experienced the protection of God, the making of idols becomes inconceivable. There are no strange images in the mind of God, and what is not in His mind cannot be in yours, because you are of one mind and that mind belongs to Him. It is yours because it belongs to Him, for to Him ownership is sharing. And if it is so for Him, it is so for you. His definitions are His laws, for by them He established the universe as what it is. No false gods you attempt to interpose between yourself and your reality affect truth at all.  Peace is yours because God created you. And He created nothing else.
  7. The miracle is the act of a Son of God who has laid aside all false gods and calls on his brothers to do likewise. It is an act of faith, because it is a recognition that his brother can do it. It is a call to the Holy Spirit in his mind, that is strengthened by joining. Because the miracle worker has heard God’s Voice, he strengthens it in a sick brother by weakening his belief in sickness, which he does not share. The power of one mind can shine into another, because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal.
  8. In many only the spark remains, for the Great Rays are obscured. Yet God has kept the spark alive so that the Rays can never be completely forgotten. If you but see the little spark you will learn of the greater light, for the Rays are there unseen. Perceiving the spark will heal but knowing the light will create. Yet in the returning the little light must be acknowledged first, for the separation was a descent from magnitude to littleness. But the spark is still as pure as the great light, it is the remaining call of creation. Put all your faith in it, and God Himself will answer you.[1]

Magic is not of God.  Signs and wonders, omens and potions, incantations and prophesies are properties of magic which struggle to reconcile this realm with the Kingdom of Heaven.  Flesh and Spirit cannot be reconciled anymore than sickness and wellness.  God created us perfect, and nothing can change that.  If we believe that God’s Son or any part of God’s Creation can be perverted, sick, dead, or dying we have placed idols of sickness before God.  We have said that God and His creation is a bleak joke; there is no point in believing in such a God for He abandons His own creations and rejects them for their mistakes. 

God is not at war with the perceptual world, but we are.  We are mortified by our idols and our magic.  There should be no surprise when our children choose atheism, agnosticism, or any of the other alternate forms of religion in place of the doctrines that we teach them.  Who wants to place their trust, their minds, their everlasting spirits in servitude to a deity who plays favorites, curses us, pronounces war upon us, demands sacrifices, and craves praise?  The idols of this world cannot be trusted to have our best interests at heart.

These conceptions of God that stand in place of His reality are fearful.  They attract large numbers of people.  They predict dire warnings and demand huge sacrifices.  They devise curses and torments for all those who dare to defy them.  To attack such beliefs is to arouse the ire of all who cherish idols of sickness and perversions.  To be taken in by the magical properties that accompany idolatry, images, and the perceptual kingdom is to always be put in a position to defend its lies, its falsehoods, its meanness, and illogic.  Reality can only dawn upon a mind unclouded by its deceptions.  To know reality, we must be willing to judge unreality for what it is. 

The only way to correctly respond to lies, to falsehood, to trickery is to refuse to sponsor it, to deny our endorsement.  Declaring war against false reality is to fight an imaginary battle!  To battle nothingness is to engage in senselessness.  Jesus tells us to speak truth, but not to argue, get angry, or go on rants for this is to make something out of nothing and it not only wastes our time, but denies us knowledge.     

When we perceive each other as perverts, as heathen, as ungodly and destined for hell we are not perceiving the Sonship, we are perceiving the ego’s version of creation.  We are judging with our flesh eyes and our flesh perceptions.  We have removed part of our mind from God’s Will.  We will then be the ones that lose control and follow the whims of the world.  We will take sides against each other.  We will lose our sense of reason, we will go down needless paths of sorrow and despair, and we will endorse war rather than peace.  Instead of upholding our brothers, we will take up arms against them. 

To end sickness, we must keep our mind at rest in God.  Resting in the peace of God upholds God’s law of freedom.  Choose the newsreels of the perceptual world in place of the peace of God and we are under the laws of bondage.  If we give our peace to the perceptual world, we are giving our peace to the idols of sickness, we are giving our peace to that which is a lie and an illusion.  We are wasting ourselves on nothingness, we will spend time in suffering rather than in returning to God from whence we came.  God’s laws center on peace.  We cannot know our Sonship in God and our Brotherhood in Christ without peace.  

Jesus tells us in paragraph four that we are not free to give up our freedom.  Freedom is what we are, it is one of the attributes of God and is therefor one of our attributes.  We cannot shake our freedom, but we can deny it.  No matter what happens in a fictional realm, it has no bearing at all upon eternity.  Lies cannot hurt the truth, but only substitute for truth and can therefore keep us engaged in a realm of never was and never will be.  Jesus tells us that what we have made here is so unworthy of us that if we were willing to really look at it for what it is, we would see nothing at all.  The more we accept the truth of God, the more our vision will automatically look beyond the perceptual world to what is in and all around us.  The truth of God will not interfere with lies, with dreams, with vain imaginings, but the truth of God does envelope us completely when we cast aside all idols of sickness and false beliefs. 

We cannot even conceive of idolatry when we know the protection of God.  No mean thoughts against our neighbor, no hard feelings toward our bosses and coworkers, no aggression and resentment and ill will toward anything or anybody in the perceptual world will cloud our mind or obstruct the truth from us when we accept our oneness with God, when we know that our minds belong to us because they belong to Him.  To God, ownership is sharing, not hoarding, not having it all and only giving us in part!  As it is for God, so it is for us.  Peace is ours because God is Peace, and God created us, and He did not create anything but that which is one with Him.   

In this world a miracle is when we, as a Son of God, lay aside all allegiance to the gods of this world and calls on the Sonship to do the same.  This is an incredible act of faith because it recognizes that not only have we seen the world for what it is but that our brothers are also recognizing this world as nothing more than a substitute for truth.  Laying aside the false gods of this world is an answer to the call of Holy Spirit in our minds and we strengthen this call by joining it.  A miracle worker has heard God’s Voice. He strengthens God’s Voice in others by diminishing their belief in perversions, which he has denied.  Jesus says that the power of one mind shines into another because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark which is everywhere and always!

In paragraph five Jesus tells us to take a good long look at what we have created and find it unworthy of the Sonship of God. When we put down our attraction for the perceptual world, when we realize our bondage to the chemicals, impulses, and drives of the flesh, when we are no longer the least bit interested in harming one another or any part of Creation, the Great Rays of Christ shines forth from within us.  We know the power of the Universe is ours for we are Sons of God, made in His likeness.  There will be nothing in the temporal world that we could want or need for we know God as our Father and as ourselves. 

In your personal devotional today, ask Holy Spirit to teach you to seek peace instead of war; to cherish others rather than go to war with them; to ask for salvation and correction rather than punishment and doom. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The idols of sickness. IV The end of sickness. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 10 The Idols of Sickness

III.  The God of Sickness 7-11

7. When a brother is sick it is because he is not asking for peace, and therefore does not know he has it.  The acceptance of peace is the denial of illusion, and sickness is an illusion.  Yet every Son of God has the power to deny illusions anywhere in the Kingdom, merely by denying them completely in himself.  I can heal you because I know you.  I know your value for you, and it is this value that makes you whole.  A whole mind is not idolatrous and does not know of conflicting laws.  I will heal you merely because I have only one message, and it is true.  Your faith in it will make you whole when you have faith in me.

8. I do not bring God’s message with deception, and you will learn this as you learn that you always receive as much as you accept.  You could accept peace now for everyone and offer them perfect freedom from all illusions because you heard His Voice.  But have no other gods before Him or you will not hear.  God is not jealous of the gods you make, but you are.  You would save them and serve them because you believe that they made you.  You think they are your father, because you are projecting onto them the fearful fact that you made them to replace God.  Yet when they seem to speak to you, remember that nothing can replace God, and whatever replacements you have attempted are nothing.

9. Very simply, then, you may believe you are afraid of nothingness, but you are really afraid of nothing.  And in that awareness, you are healed.  You will hear the god you listen to.  You made the god of sickness, and by making him you made yourself able to hear him.  Yet you did not create him, because he is not the Will of the Father.  He is therefore not eternal and will be unmade for you the instant you signify your willingness to accept only the eternal.

10. If God has but one Son, there is but one God.  You share reality with Him because reality is not divided.  To accept other gods before Him is to place other images before yourself.  You do not realize how much you listen to your gods, and how vigilant you are on their behalf.  Yet they exist only because you honor them.  Place honor where it is due, and peace will be yours.  It is your inheritance from your real Father.  You cannot make your Father, and the father you made did not make you.  Honor is not due to illusions, for to honor them is to honor nothing.  Yet fear is not due them either, for nothing cannot be fearful.  You have chosen to fear love because of its perfect harmlessness, and because of this fear you have been willing to give up your own perfect helpfulness and your own perfect Help.

11. Only at the altar of God will you find peace.  And this altar is in you because God put it there.  His Voice still calls you to return, and He will be heard when you place no other gods before Him.  You can give up the god of sickness for your brothers; in fact, you would have to do so if you give him up for yourself.  For if you see the god of sickness anywhere, you have accepted him.  And if you accept him you will bow down and worship him, because he was made as God’s replacement.  He is the belief that you can choose which god is real.  Although it is clear this has nothing to do with reality, it is equally clear that it has everything to do with reality as you perceive it.[1]

Until we ask the Lord for peace, we accept the perceptual world as our reality.  We identify with our flesh and blood.  Identifying with our bodies instead of Holy Spirit makes us sick – in our minds, in our emotions, and in our bodies.  Sickness is part of the illusion – it keeps us trapped in fear, uncertainty, and pain. 

As God’s Son we have the power to bust up illusions wherever they are – when we accept only truth about ourselves, we can deny them for everybody else.  Jesus heals because He recognizes His oneness with all. He recognizes the wholeness in everyone; He knows our worth.  His mind is whole.  He does not believe in the idolatries of the world; He sees past all the contradictions and conflicts.  He does not judge our egos; he sees only our oneness as God’s Son.  We are made whole when we put our faith in Christ, when we learn to trust completely in the law of receiving as much as we accept. 

What does it mean to receive as much as we accept?  Jesus tells us in paragraph eight, that technically we could accept peace right now for everyone who exists; we could offer them perfect freedom from all lies, temptations, and harmful practices – simply because we listened to the Voice for God within us.  We responded to His Voice with love, with joyful recognition of the truth, with the peaceful reception of that which the world cannot give.

The problem arises when we try to believe in both the gods of this world, the idols of sickness made by humankind and the Voice for God.  When we love God, we must love Him fully.  It is not jealousy which demands wholly, it is truth.  For it is impossible to have both love for God and fear of Him.  It is impossible to reconcile opposites.  Where there is light, there cannot be darkness.  Where there is health, there cannot be sickness.  When something is whole, it is not in part.  The world is a tricky place for the Sons of God.  It is not our home.  We are not here to make a fortune for ourselves, to distinguish ourselves, to make for ourselves a kingdom.  When we mistake our stint in time as anything but a means to return to God, we get sick, and we die – again and again.  Instead of using time as a means to teach us about our need to return to Him, we use time as a means to replace Him.  We think of time as our Father.  We think of nature as our Mother.  We revere the things of the perceptual world and confuse the nothingness of this realm, the meaningless, chaotic events of this world with God moving and working in our lives.  Jesus tells us that when the gods of this world seem to talk to us, we are listening to meaningless chatter because there is nothing which can replace God.  We have made the mistake common to all prodigals – that the love, peace, and joy of the Spirit are somehow boring and trite while the variances, uncertainty, and chaos offered by the ego entice and enchant us. 

No matter how long we are the least bit deceived by this mistake, we have not replaced God.  We have not taken anything away from God, nor have we lost anything for ourselves.  We have just been mistaken, we have lost only time, which may be a commodity in this world but certainly not in the Kingdom of God. 

There is absolutely no reason to be afraid for there is nothing to be afraid of, there is nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing but the sweet awareness that this world and all that is in it is a fictional representation of what would be if we could be separated from God and His Love.  When we accept this truth we are healed of everything that ails us; and we will be healed according to how much we accept this truth.  We will hear the voice we listen to – God does not shout to get our attention; God does not come after us and force His Will upon us.  The gods of sickness are the conceptions of God we made in the fictional kingdom, they are lies, they are illusions, they are nothing because they are not God, and they certainly are not God’s Will.  The very instant we are willing to give up our belief in the crazy versions of the egotistical gods we made, we are set free of the ludicrous, the meanness, the punitive and angry.

There is only one God and one Son and in this we share our reality.  God cannot be divided no more than can His Son.  If we accept the gods of this world we accept the same dim view of ourselves for we are vigilant in our devotion to our gods, even though the only reason they seem to exist is because of our devotion to our false beliefs!  When we devote ourselves to the God of Love, Joy, and Peace and all that is good, intelligent, and worthy of devotion, all the attributes that belong to Him are ours.  For He made us to share all of Himself with us.  This is our inheritance! 

When we fear the Love of God, the Joy and Peace and Goodness of God, we are making the sad assumption that it is only fear, hatred, sorrow, and strife that are powerful.  We make the mistake of believing that being helpful and harmless are weak, boring, and inadequate attributes.  There is no honor in anything that is not love.  There is no need to fear it either, for all that is not of God, all that is not of love, means nothing for it simply cannot prevail against that which is eternal.     

On the inner altar of our mind is the Voice for God calling to each one of us to return to all which is Love.  This alone is the place of peace.  When our minds are freed from all attachment to the sick gods of this world, when we listen deeply to the quiet voice that calls to us to clear our altars of all the lies and delusions of this world, we hear God’s Voice.  God’s Voice unites us. When we give up the gods of sickness for ourselves, we give up the sick gods for our brothers.

When we think we are something special to God and we can hear God’s Voice and be well while our brothers are lost in their sins and sick in their iniquities, we have mistaken the ego-chatter of this realm as our replacement for God.  This is the belief that my god can be different than your god.  This is the belief that my god is bigger and better than your god.  This is the belief that you and I are not brothers and thus the one Son of God, but that you and I can decide reality for ourselves and be separate and at enmity one against the other. 

Mistaking perception for reality is not going to change reality but accepting the ego’s perception of reality – we continue our stint in time, sick and diseased, believing that which separates us from God and from each other.  Accept our reality in Christ, our minds are set free from the illusional, fictional, temporal realm and we can clearly see and receive the truth of God’s love and devotion. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The Idols of sickness III The god of sickness. 7-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 10 The Idols of Sickness

III.  The God of Sickness

  1. You have not attacked God and you do love Him.  Can you change your reality?  No one can will to destroy himself.  When you think you are attacking yourself, it is a sure sign that you hate what you think you are.  And this, and only this, can be attacked by you.  What you think you are can be very hateful, and what this strange image makes you do can be very destructive.  Yet the destruction is no more real than the image, although those who make idols do worship them.  The idols are nothing, but their worshippers are the Sons of God in sickness.  God would have them released from their sickness and returned to His Mind.  He will not limit your power to help them, because He has given it to you.  Do not be afraid of it, because it is your salvation.
  2. What Comforter can there be for the sick children of God except His power through you?  Remember that it does not matter where in the Sonship He is accepted.  He is always accepted for all, and when your mind receives Him the remembrance of Him awakens throughout the Sonship.  Heal your brothers simply by accepting God for them.  Your minds are not separate, and God has only one channel for healing because He has but one Son.  God’s remaining communication link with all His children joins them together, and them to Him.  To be aware of this is to heal them because it is the awareness that no one is separate, and so no one is sick. 
  3. To believe that a Son of God can be sick is to believe that part of God can suffer.  Love cannot suffer because it cannot attack.  The remembrance of love therefore brings invulnerability with it.  Do not side with sickness in the presence of a Son of God even if he believes in it, for your acceptance of God in him acknowledges the Love of God he has forgotten.  Your recognition of him as part of God reminds him of the truth about himself, which he is denying.  Would you strengthen his denial of God and thus lose sight of yourself?  Or would you remind him of his wholeness and remember your Creator with him?
  4. To believe a Son of God is sick is to worship the same idol he does.  God created love, not idolatry.  All forms of idolatry are caricatures of creation, taught by sick minds too divided to know that creation shares power and never usurps it.  Sickness is idolatry because it is the belief that power can be taken from you.  Yet this is impossible, because you are part of God, Who is all power.  A sick god must be an idol, made in the image of what its maker thinks he is.  And that is exactly what the ego does perceive in a Son of God, a sick god, self-created, self-sufficient, very vicious, and very vulnerable.  Is this the idol you would worship?  Is this the image you would be vigilant to save?  Are you afraid of losing this?
  5. Look calmly at the logical conclusion of the ego’s thought system and judge whether its offering is really what you want, for this is what it offers you.  To obtain this you are willing to attack the Divinity in your brothers and lose sight of yours.  And you are willing to keep it hidden, to protect an idol you think will save you from the dangers for which it stands, but which do not exist. 
  6. There are no idolaters in the Kingdom, but there is great appreciation for everything that God created, because of the calm knowledge that each one is part of Him.  God’s Son knows no idols, but he does know his Father.  Health in this world is the counterpart of value in Heaven.  It is not my merit that I contribute to you but my love, for you do not value yourself.  When you do not value yourself you become sick, but my value of you can heal you, because the value of God’s Son is one.  When I said, “My peace I give unto you,” I meant it. Peace comes from God through me to you.  It is for you although you may not ask for it.[1]

It is important to remember through all of our learning that we are dreaming of separation from God, we are dreaming of a reality that would, if it were possible, keep us in a place devoid of meaning, of knowledge, of truth. In our innocence we took a wrong path – it is not because we have attacked God, it is not because we did not love Him, we simply chose fiction and uncertainty over truth and certainty. We choose an opposite to that Which can have no opposite.  We chose to oppose that Which simply cannot be opposed.  Just as a loving parent does not hold their tots accountable for the ways in which they rob them of peace and quiet and uninterrupted slumber, nor does God hold us accountable for the ways in which we chose the wayward path.  We are simply asleep in our dreams of opposition.  We listened to the wrong voice.  And that wrong voice continues to lull us into the perceptual world of strange and hateful images that are very destructive – in the world that is not God’s Kingdom and has no ongoing reality or substance or meaning of any kind.

Idols, like lies, are nothing.  But when we believe in them, when we worship them, the Sons of God dream dreams of disease, suffering, and death.  God is certainly not jealous of lies.  He is not jealous of idols.  He is not jealous of anything we make to take His place.  He does not punish those who believe in lies or mistakenly worship the idols of sickness we have made to take the place of truth.  He just wants us to give them up.  He wants us to awaken to His love, His devotion, and to His Kingdom where no heartache, no loss, no deprivation of any kind exists. 

For those of us who remember, who choose to awaken and remember what they are and where they belong, God gives us power to awaken others.  We do not awaken to be whisked away in the sky to the delights of an eternal kingdom while the rest of our brothers are left to continue in sickness, shame, and sorrow.  If this is what you have been taught, if this is what you have accepted as your salvation, you will feel shame and sorrow, for you will know that the love of God is not in you.  Our salvation would compel us to save others.  None of us could be happy, happy, happy in Jesus if there was one brother left behind.  It is not our job to judge who has the right belief system, who is worthy of God’s Kingdom.  It is our function to understand our oneness and recognize it as our salvation, for we find our salvation in the brotherhood of Christ and in the Sonship of God.  We cannot find it in our selves, or our tribes, traditions, or our own little band of brothers who agree with our doctrines and our political beliefs. 

When our brothers are sick, we do not let them to their own devices.  When we will with Holy Spirit, we become the Comforter, the Voice for God, the Second Coming of Jesus.  We can stop begging God to fill us with the Holy Ghost.  We can stop looking in the sky for Jesus to come back and save us from the world.  We can stop searching for omens, signs, and wonders to give us a sneak preview of the things to come.  When one mind remembers the love and devotion of our Father for His Creation, the whole of the Sonship awakens.  We do not have to go about bragging and boasting about the goodness of God, thinking that we will somehow entice others to give up their sins and follow Jesus with us.  We heal our brothers by accepting God for them. 

Jesus tells us that our minds are not separate.  There is only one channel for healing.  We are joined together just as we are joined to Him.  Simply to be aware of this is to heal because to remember our oneness, sweeps away all our false beliefs in God, in Creation, in sin and shame, in salvation being for the few and the elect instead of for all.  Just as nobody is alone, adrift and dying unless we are all alone, adrift, and dying, so everyone is united, loved, and eternal when one is united, loved, and eternal.  We do not leave our brothers behind because God loves His Creation as one.    To believe otherwise is to believe that a part of God is punitive, petty, and perverted.  Such beliefs sicken our minds and our bodies.

 Love protects and never attacks, love corrects but never punishes, love forgives lies and illusions because they are dreams of the hapless.  When we remember Love, we remember our invulnerability.  We do not side with anything but the Love of God no matter what our brothers may believe for if we accept the perversions of God, we are accepting the idols of sickness.  When we recognize our brother as part of God we remind him of the truth about himself. No matter what drivel he may be spouting, Jesus tells us to refrain from arguing with him, refrain from judging him, refrain from putting him down – but above all refrain from siding with him.  We are to simply remind our brothers of their wholeness in God and remember God’s Love with him.  

That is why we do not pay much attention to sickness; we do not revere cancer or lupus or tuberculosis.  We do not make a big deal about covids, colds, or flus of any kind.  Nor do we go on about substance abuse, mental illness, or aging and decay.  We do not concern ourselves with political rivalries, war, social unrest, or media warnings and forecasts.  Idols are false beliefs and practices intended to misuse time, keep us in fear, in submission, and enchanted by that which is not of God.  These idols are purposefully designed to keep us from remembering that we are part of God, who is all power.  Meditate upon this teaching today and ask Holy Spirit to reveal its truth to you.

In paragraph four, Jesus tells us that a sick concept of God must be an idol devised by people who forgot God’s love, devotion, and Fatherhood of all creation.  The ego perceives God and His Sons as very vicious and very vulnerable.  Fail to give this sick version of God its ration of blood, its meaty sacrifices, its overarching need for adoration, worship, and flattery and it becomes vengeful and pours out its wrath upon its helpless, vulnerable, fleshy creations.  Is this the idol you would worship?  Is this the image you are vigilant to save?  Are you afraid of losing this concept of God because you have devoted your life to preaching and teaching that which makes us sick instead of that which awakens us to the reality of God’s Love? 

Quietly and calmly look at the logical outcome of the ego’s concept of God found in most of the world’s major religions and ask whether it is offering that which brings peace, love, and joy – for all? To save ourselves, must we be willing to attack all that is divine in our brothers and thus lose sight of our own divinity? We may believe that the myths and fables our ancestors made up about God will save us, but history proved them wrong then and will prove us wrong now.  We can believe in illusions all we want, but we cannot make them true.  Fabrications mislead, they enchant our minds, they give us a false sense of belonging and specialness, but they do not save us, they spin us.  Fables which divide and keep us stuck in cycles of bloodshed, sacrifice, and bickering do not bring us peace, they bring us war, hatred, and strife.

We will end today’s section with paragraph six.  There are no idolaters in the Kingdom because in heaven there is only truth.  In truth there is full appreciation for all of God’s creation.  We do not have to worship something to be grateful for it.   When we know God, we have no idols for we realize that idolatry leads us astray and sickens us.  Where there is specialness, there is un-specialness, there is rivalry, there is jealousy, there is insecurity, and there is strife.  Idols turn upon their worshippers, manipulate, and condition them for thoughts, words, and deed that are unworthy of God’s Son. We are to let our health in this world reflect our value in Heaven.  Jesus loves us because of what we are, not because of what we do.  When we forget what we are in God, we grow despondent, we make wrong choices, we become sick, we become dangerous to ourselves and a burden and a danger to others.  But through Christ we remember our worthiness because we know ourselves as God’s Son through God’s Son.  The peace of God flows through Christ to each one of us, freeing us, healing us, calling us Home – all we must do is ask. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The idols of sickness.  III The god of sickness 1-6. 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 10 The Idols of Sickness

II.  The Decision to Forget

  1. Unless you first know something, you cannot dissociate it.  Knowledge must precede dissociation, so that dissociation is nothing more than a decision to forget.  What has been forgotten then appears to be fearful, but only because the dissociation is an attack on truth.  You are fearful because you have forgotten.  And you have replaced your knowledge by an awareness of dreams because you are afraid of your dissociation, not of what you have dissociated.  When what you have dissociated is accepted, it ceases to be fearful.
  2. Yet to give up the dissociation of reality brings more than merely lack of fear.  In this decision lie joy and peace and the glory of creation.  Offer the Holy Spirit only your willingness to remember, for He retains the knowledge of God and of yourself for you, waiting for your acceptance.  Give up gladly everything that would stand in the way of your remembering, for God is in your memory.  His Voice will tell you that you are part of Him when you are willing to remember Him and know your own reality again.  Let nothing in this world delay your remembering of Him, for in this remembrance is the knowledge of yourself.
  3. To remember is merely to restore to your mind what is already there.  You do not make what you remember; you merely accept again what is already there but was rejected.  The ability to accept truth in this world is the perceptual counterpart of creating in the Kingdom.  God will do His part if you will do yours, and His return in exchange for yours is the exchange of knowledge for perception.  Nothing is beyond His Will for you.  But signify your will to remember Him and behold!  He will give you everything but for the asking.
  4. When you attack, you are denying yourself.  You are specifically teaching yourself that you are not what you are.  Your denial of reality precludes the acceptance of God’s gift, because you have accepted something else in its place.  If you understand that this is always an attack on truth, and truth is God, you will realize why it is always fearful.  If you further recognize that you are part of God, you will understand why it is that you always attack yourself first.
  5. All attack is self-attack.  It cannot be anything else.  Arising from your own decision not to be what you are, it is an attack on your identification.  Attack is thus the way in which your identification is lost, because when you attack, you must have forgotten what you are.  And if your reality is God’s when you attack you are not remembering Him.  This is not because He is gone, but because you are actively choosing not to remember Him.
  6. If you realized the complete havoc this makes of your peace of mind you could not make such an insane decision.  You make it only because you still believe it can get you something you want.  It follows, then, that you want something other than peace of mind, but you have not considered what it must be.  Yet the logical outcome of your decision is perfectly clear if you will only look at it.  By deciding against your reality, you have made yourself vigilant against God and His Kingdom.  And it is this vigilance that makes you afraid to remember Him.[1]

As long as we think of ourselves as different from God, as underlings, as grovelers, as miserable sinners, we are forgetting what we really are.  Jesus calls this an attack on truth.  We have forgotten our Sonship, we have accepted our status as that of flesh and blood, bone and gristle.  We are not afraid of God, we are afraid of being separate from Him, we are afraid of what we have made of ourselves, we are afraid of our humanity, our vulnerability, our false identity, and for very good reason.   

Giving up the separation from God does not only free us of fear – accepting our Sonship gives us joy and peace and the grandeur of God and of all Creation.  Jesus tells us to offer our willingness to remember our Brotherhood with Christ, our Sonship with God, our true place in His Kingdom, for it is only in the high mind of Holy Spirit that the knowledge of God and of our real Selves is retained. 

We will not find our Selves in the flesh, in the world, or in anything or anyone the world offers us.  God is in our memory.  The Voice for God tells us, reminds us of our part in God’s Kingdom when we are willing.  God does not come after us, chase us down, kidnap us and drag us back to His Kingdom.  He does not send a posse out to get us, imprison us, or hang us from a tree.  Please do not blame God for the hardships, the suffering, the crimes against humanity that happen in the world.  Do not confuse the world with His Kingdom.  When we try to find God in our humanity, in this world, in the topsy-turvy events that unfold in time, we are choosing unreality over reality and we will make ourselves depressed, disheartened, and diseased. 

We do not have to make up stories about God.  We do not have to wonder and worry and fret about what it is like over on the other side. When we remember our mind is restored to what already exists.  Perhaps in our innocence we chose to believe in lies instead of truth.  Perhaps in our innocence we preferred fiction to truth.  Perhaps in our innocence we believed that opposites and opposition would be more titillating than certainty, surety, and safety.   Whatever we did to end up in this realm instead of God’s Kingdom does not matter.  The only thing that matters is that now we know better.  We want to come Home.  Our lies and fiction, our world of opposites and opposition makes us sick and fill our minds with shame and sorrow. 

Jesus tells us that as we do our part, God does His part.  We give Him our perceptions of separation; He gives us the knowledge of Sonship.  There is nothing He Will withhold from us.  Will with Holy Spirit to remember God and see that everything is ours but for the asking!

But here’s the deal.  Jesus is very clear – there can be no attack of any kind.  While peace is certainly not a condition of this world, peace is the condition of God’s Kingdom.  Whenever we attack another person, whether it is in our mind, our words, our deeds – we are teaching ourselves of our unreality.  We are saying I am not a Son of God.  I am only a human; I am going to concern myself with the affairs of a human being.  I will make my humanity and this world my God and my Kingdom.  When we deny reality in this way we deny the acceptance of God’s Gift.  We have taken what we have made of ourselves instead of what God created.  We accept the myths, the fables, the untruth about ourselves and God instead of our reality in Him. 

No matter who or what we attack, all attack is an attack upon ourselves.  I may think that I am attacking you or you may think you are attacking me, but we are attacking ourselves as well as each other.  We lose our memory of God; we lose our memory of what we are.  We think that arguing with others, cutting them off, snubbing them, or teaching them a good lesson is the way to go, but this denies the conditions of God’s Kingdom. 

If we had even an inkling of the havoc that this makes of our minds, we would never choose to attack anybody for any reason.  The only reason that we continue to hold thoughts of discord, disagreement, and destruction toward God’s Creation is because we still believe it can get us what we want.  When I say mean things about you and bring up mistakes that you made in the past, I believe that if I talk trash about you and talk about your sins, I can forget about my own.  For some reason I am willing to exchange my peace of mind for something else.  What is the perfectly logical outcome of the attack I have made on you?  I not only trashed you, but I have lost my memory of God’s Kingdom. Instead of being for peace, for brotherhood, for oneness – the very conditions of God’s Kingdom, I have stepped outside of reality and into the insanity of that which has no substance, no sustenance, no sanity.  Because I chose to be vigilant against instead of for God’s Kingdom, I fear God instead of love Him. 

In our prayers and personal devotion today, ask Holy Spirit to show you the ways in which you are choosing to forget God by believing that there is still something worthwhile in attack thoughts, words, and deeds.  Ask Holy Spirit to teach you how to be vigilant for God and His Kingdom.  Being vigilant for God and His Kingdom, means that we are devoted to our brothers even as we are devoted to God and to ourselves.  We hold our brothers as dear to us as God.  When we see our brothers going down a wrong path, we do not seek for them to be punished, we seek for them to be corrected, to be forgiven, to be freed from paths that lead to prolonging their stint in time.  We do not sic God on our enemies, we ask Holy Spirit to forgive them and to bless them and put their feet on the path to God.  Review Lesson 112 and remind yourself frequently throughout the day who you are in God, because light and joy and peace abide in you.  You are as God created you.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The idols of sickness. I The decision to forget. 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 10 The Idols of Sickness

I. At Home in God

  1. You do not know your creations simply because you would decide against them as long as your mind is split, and to attack what you have created is impossible. But remember that it is as impossible for God. The law of creation is that you love your creations as yourself because they are part of you. Everything that was created is therefore perfectly safe because the laws of God protect it by His love. Any part of your mind that does not know this has banished itself from knowledge, because it has not met its conditions. Who could have done this but you? Recognize this gladly, for in this recognition lies the realization that your banishment is not of God, and therefore does not exist.
  2. You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality. Is it your decision to do so? You recognize from your own experience that what you see in dreams you think is real while you are asleep. Yet the instant you waken you realize that everything that seemed to happen in the dream did not happen at all. You do not think this strange, even though all the laws of what you awaken to were violated while you slept. Is it not possible that you merely shifted from one dream to another, without really waking?
  3. Would you bother to reconcile what happened in conflicting dreams, or would you dismiss both together if you discovered that reality is in accord with neither? You do not remember being awake. When you hear the Holy Spirit, you may feel better because loving then seems possible to you, but you do not remember yet that it once was so. And it is in this remembering that you will know it can be so again. What is possible has not yet been accomplished. Yet what has once been is so now if it is eternal. When you remember, you will know that what you remember is eternal, and therefore is now.
  4. You will remember everything the instant you desire it wholly, for if to desire wholly is to create, you will have willed away the separation, returning your mind simultaneously to your Creator and your creations. Knowing them you will have no wish to sleep, but only the desire to waken and be glad. Dreams will be impossible because you will want only truth, and being at last your will, it will be yours.[1]

Jesus assures us that we are at home in God.  All that we experience here is like a dream.  We all know what it is like to sleep and wake up from dreams and think, Oh, it was only a dream.  We usually do not get too worked up about our dreams.  There are times we do seem to find meaning in them, some are very pleasant, and others are not pleasant at all.  But no matter what manner of dream we have, we shake it off and go about and soon our daily business makes us forget them.  Jesus asks us to perceive this “reality” as a dream.  The things that seem good about it and the things that are not good at all – it is only a dream of separation from God.

And this separation did not come about because God banished us from His Kingdom.  There could not possibly be anything good about our dream if that was the case.  No, we dream this dream because a part of our mind did not meet the conditions of knowledge. 

The condition of knowledge is the same condition of the Kingdom for Knowledge and the Kingdom are the same.  A part of our mind opposed God, choosing a realm of opposites rather than the laws of creation.  A realm of opposites can only exist in a time-out from God’s Kingdom.  A realm of opposites is a realm of that which cannot be God.  It is a realm where there are fluctuations, where there is Spirit and flesh, where there is love and hate, where there is peace and war.  In a realm of opposites, God is never solely a God of Love, but rather a God of love and fear.  In a realm of opposites, mistakes are not forgiven and corrected but rather punished throughout eternity.  In a realm of opposites, bloodshed and sacrifice are valued while safety, abundance, and rest are not.  A realm that opposes God, that is built on uncertainty, that brings disease, destruction, and death to the Creation of God simply cannot exist! 

When we come to the end of our desire to oppose God in every way, our minds will awaken fully to His Kingdom and this one will disappear for good.  It will be awakening from a dream that seemed real enough while we were sleeping but will dissipate upon opening our minds to the truth of the matter.  The truth makes us happy; the truth heals us; the truth makes everything right again. 

There are no idols of sickness in God’s Kingdom.  We will not want them, we will not need them, we will have no wish for them.  Whatever it was that entranced our minds and lured them away from truth will never be able to tempt us again because all we will want is what we have and what we are in God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The idols of sickness. I. At home in God. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 10 The Idols of Sickness


  1. Nothing beyond yourself can make you fearful or loving because nothing is beyond you. Time and eternity are both in your mind and will conflict until you perceive time solely as a means to regain eternity. You cannot do this as long as you believe that anything happening to you is caused by factors outside yourself. You must learn that time is solely at your disposal, and that nothing in the world can take this responsibility from you. You can violate God’s laws in your imagination, but you cannot escape from them. They were established for your protection and are as inviolate as your safety.
  2. God created nothing besides you and nothing besides you exists for you are part of Him. What except Him can exist? Nothing beyond Him can happen because nothing except Him is real. Your creations add to Him as you do but nothing is added that is different because everything has always been. What can upset you except the ephemeral, and how can the ephemeral be real if you are God’s only creation and He created you eternal? Your holy mind establishes everything that happens to you. Every response you make to everything you perceive is up to you, because your mind determines your perception of it.
  3. God does not change His mind about you, for He is not uncertain of Himself. And what He knows can be known because He does not know it only for Himself. He created you for Himself, but He gave you the power to create for yourself so you would be like Him. Your mind is holy. Can anything exceed the love of God? Can anything, then, exceed your will? Nothing can reach you from beyond it because, being in God, you encompass everything. Believe this, and you will realize how much is up to you when anything threatens your peace of mind, ask yourself, “Has God changed His mind about me?”  Then accept His decision for it is indeed changeless and refuse to change your mind about yourself. God will never decide against you, or He would be deciding against Himself.[1]

When we let the world upset us, when we let the affairs of other people become our problem, whether we react with love or with fear to that which is in the outer world, we are not perceiving time as a means to regain eternity – we are perceiving time as where we belong.  As long as we think of the world as our home, the things that happen in the world will determine our state of being.  We will feel compelled to know what is going on in the outer world and make it our business.  We will praise the Lord and wave our arms about when our presidential candidate wins and go about congratulating each other on how our country now has hope of becoming more godly.  If our presidential candidate does not win we are liable to become sulky, depressed, and blame our country’s problems on the other party!  Every situation we encounter will either make us happy or sad because instead of trusting in God, we trust in the world. 

Jesus tells us that time is at our disposal and that there is nothing in the world that can take this responsibility from us.  If we want to keep being deceived by the projections of the ego, we are violating God’s law of truth because we are believing in lies.  But believing in lies does not make them real!  This is the law of truth which protects truth, protects us, and keeps us safe no matter how the lies of the illusions spin us up and down and all around!

We are part of God and there is nothing outside of God.  God is everything.  Everything that happens, happens in God.  God is Reality.  When we extend love, peace, and joy to others we add to the treasury of God, but it is just more of what is already there.  We cannot introduce different and new to what always has been and will always be. 

The only thing that can keep us in a tizzy, break our hearts, and drive us crazy is what happens in time.  It is fleeting, It is uncertain and chaotic.  It is transient.  Everything passes away.  Nothing is real that is in time.  We are God’s Creation, His only Creation, Jesus says.  God does not create that which is not good, pure, holy, and forever.  He gave us His Spirit, and His Mind.  Everything that happens to us is established by the holy mind in which we were given by God.  When we let the world get to us and mistake it for our reality, we miss the whole point of time – which is to regain eternity.  When we perceive what happens in the world with the vision of Christ, we know that we can trust in God who is our strength, our power, our very Being. It is up to us with what eyes we choose to perceive the world. 

Jesus tells us that God does not change His mind about His creations.  He believes in what He creates.  There is no part of God that is not certain about Himself and about His creations.  God did not make us to reject us, to neglect us, to make war upon us.  He created us to be like Him and to share in His glory and grandeur and magnitude.  He made us holy because He is holy.  There is nothing that can go beyond the Love of God.  God’s Will is for us and not against us and nothing can prevail against us because as part of God, we encompass everything. 

Dare to believe this and we will come to know just how much is up to us when anything comes along to threaten our peace of mind.  God will never change His mind about you or about me or about any of us.  When we accept ourselves as God created us to be and refuse to allow the world to influence us to change our mind about what we are in God, we will not accept the idols and the falsehood of the world to take His place in our minds.  No matter what the kingdom which is not God’s Kingdom tries to tell us about ourselves, let us always remind ourselves that God never decides against us because if He would decide against us, He would be deciding against Himself! 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 10 The idols of sickness. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

VIII.  Grandeur versus Grandiosity 7-11

7. Truth and littleness are denials of each other because grandeur is truth. Truth does not vacillate; it is always true. When grandeur slips away from you, you have replaced it with something you have made. Perhaps it is the belief in littleness; perhaps it is the belief in grandiosity. Yet it must be insane because it is not true.  Your grandeur will never deceive you, but your illusions always will. Illusions are deceptions. You cannot triumph, but you are exalted. And in your exalted state you seek others like you and rejoice with them.

8. It is easy to distinguish grandeur from grandiosity, because love is returned, and pride is not. Pride will not produce miracles and will therefore deprive you of the true witnesses to your reality. Truth is not obscure nor hidden, but its obviousness to you lies in the joy you bring to its witnesses, who show it to you. They attest to your grandeur, but they cannot attest to pride because pride is not shared. God wants you to behold what He created because it is His joy.

9. Can your grandeur be arrogant when God Himself witnesses to it?  And what can be real that has no witnesses? What good can come of it? And if no good can come of it the Holy Spirit cannot use it. What He cannot transform to the Will of God does not exist at all. Grandiosity is delusional because it is used to replace your grandeur. Yet what God has created cannot be replaced. God is incomplete without you because His grandeur is total, and you cannot be missing from it.

10. You are altogether irreplaceable in the Mind of God. No one else can fill your part in it, and while you leave your part of it empty your eternal place merely waits for your return. God, through His Voice, reminds you of it, and God Himself keeps your extensions safe within it. Yet you do not know them until you return to them. You cannot replace the Kingdom, and you cannot replace yourself. God, Who knows your value would not have it so, and so it is not so. Your value is in God’s Mind, and therefore not in yours alone. To accept yourself as God created you cannot be arrogance, because it is the denial of arrogance. To accept your littleness is arrogant, because it means that you believe your evaluation of yourself is truer than God’s.

11.  Yet if truth is indivisible, your evaluation of yourself must be God’s. You did not establish your value and it needs no defense. Nothing can attack it nor prevail over it.  It does not vary. It merely is.  Ask the Holy Spirit what it is, and He will tell you, but do not be afraid of His answer, because it comes from God. It is an exalted answer because of its source, but the source is true and so is its answer.  Listen and do not question what you hear, for God does not deceive. He would have you replace the ego’s belief in littleness with His Own exalted Answer to what you are, so that you can cease to question it and know it for what it is.[1]

Today in paragraph seven, Jesus reminds us that opposites cannot both be true.  Our God-likeness is either true or false.  God does not make us one way and then turn around and take the gift that He gave us to make us less than how we were created.  If we do not think of ourselves like God, it is because we replaced His grandeur with either a sense of fear and insignificance, or we have replaced it with the ego’s substitute of grandiosity.  To hold fast to our exquisite trust in the truth and power of God we seek others who have not lost their grandeur in God.  We share appreciation, joy, and mutuality with them. 

For though the rest of the world doubts, we know that the grandeur of God will never mislead, toy with us, send us on wild goose chases, or dangle the truth just out of our reach.  It will never vacillate between elating us and depressing us.  It will never punish us for our mistakes, but rather forgive, correct, and undo them.  The grandeur of God does not threaten, curse, or send fire balls to punish His own creations.  The law of creation is that we love and take full responsibility for what we create.  Because God loves creation, He is patient, loving, and kind and gently awakens us from the deceptions of our egos.  He calls to us to shake off our dreams of separation, to free us from the miscreation and accept that which is not flesh, but which is Spirit and Truth. 

Illusions on the other hand will always set us against our brothers.  Illusions will always have threats, curses, and damnation attached to them because otherwise who would believe in such tripe?  Illusions will embarrass us – we will know in our hearts that God is not what we are being taught, but we will feel pressured into “believing” in the fearful God because of tradition, because we have been taught that this is right.  No matter how little sense our belief systems make, no matter how many times it lets us down, no matter how many times it simply does not add up, illusions and lies place all the blame for the way in which it fails us upon us!  The makers of such belief systems profit from guilt and shame.  They delight in playing cat and mouse games with their followers.  They love to dangle falsehoods, signs, omens, wonders out to baffle us and keep us going about in circles looking for God in the outer, perceptual world rather than in our hearts and minds where He never leaves us or forsakes us. 

When we break free from the illusions of the world, there is no triumph involved for there was no battle.  That which opposes God is a lie.   That which is not true has no substance.  We cannot triumph over that which has no substance, we stop believing in it.  No battle, no bloodshed, no terrible plagues – we are not flesh and blood, we are Spirit.  Like God.  Turning away from that which is a lie, we accept our divinity, we are noble, because God is noble, and all things of God are noble. 

God is not a big ego who does not share His glory, His majesty, His very Being with His Creation.  Primitive concepts of God teach that God craves to be worshipped forever and ever.  However, God has His Grandeur!  He already knows how big and bountiful, good and blessed He is.  There is absolutely no need for us to keep repeating this to Him for He does not need our flattery, He wants us rather to share in His grandeur.   He did not create us to worship Him, He created us to be like Him!  When we realize the truth about ourselves in God, we will be exalted, and we will exalt our brothers.  We have no more worries about our brothers burning in hell or being ousted from the Kingdom just because they have a different doctrine than we do or call God by another name.  Jesus as the Son of God restores to us our sanity and brings us to the truth and for this we rejoice and make happy. 

Grandeur and grandiosity are as different as night and day.  Grandeur is loving, joyful, and calm.  Grandiosity is arrogant, afraid, and clamorous.  Arrogance does not bless others, nor does, arrogance love others.  Grandiosity deprives us of witnesses to our reality in God because when other people look at us and see our pride, our egotistical bluff and bluster, they do not witness love, peace, and joy which are the witnesses to our reality in God’s Kingdom. 

Truth is not hidden.  God does not play hide and seek with us.  He does not give us clues and ciphers and expect us to run about chasing after truth.  When we bring joy to others, when we show them love, when we bless them with our peace, our calm, our quietness – our brothers respond to us with joy, this is our witness.  Our brothers attest to our grandeur by the joy they receive from us, the peace they receive from us, the love and trust and goodness. 

Nobody can attest our arrogance because arrogance cannot be shared.  If I come to you to tell you how you must believe, what books you must read to be as spiritually advanced as I am, brag to you about all the ways in which God has revealed Himself to me and drown out what you have to say because I am too full of my own self to let you get a word in edgewise – I am not sharing my arrogance with you, I am keeping it all for myself!  I may think that I am so blessed, but I cast aside blessings and grace when I decided to put you beneath me and forgot that you had something to teach me.  Grandiosity can only work for so long before even the ego cannot stand it anymore and will begin to attack the one that accepts this “gift,” bringing them low and filling them with shame. 

Grandeur on the other hand never fills us with shame, but with a deep sense of appreciation and awe.  God wants us to behold our grandeur because He created it for His Joy.  There is no arrogance in grandeur because it is of God.  A beautiful sunset is exalted because it shares its grandeur for all to see.  So too must we accept our grandeur for it is a gift from God and to the God which is in us.  We cannot hide in our closets and be filled with grandeur for ourselves alone.  Grandeur is exchanged for grandiosity when it is not accepted, acknowledged, and shared.   

Ego can never replace the things of God.  We are incomplete without God and God is complete only with His Creation. God cannot be incomplete.  We can not be missing from Him nor from His grandeur which God created and ordained, but we can think we are missing from it.  We can lay it aside.  We can go trotting down the road thinking we are all that and find our way without Him. 

We are irreplaceable in the Mind of God and nobody can fill our spot.  When we leave our spot empty, our spot merely waits for our return from a sleep in which we dream the fictional kingdom of opposites and opposition.  No matter what nightmare we can fathom, no matter what happens in the illusional realm, God our Father keeps our love, peace, and joy and all the other beautiful attributes in which we created, safe within His Thoughts. 

Just as the father in the story of the prodigal son kept his place for him at the table and in his heart, so does God keep us.  The father awaited his son’s return in love, in faith, and in trust that his son would wake up and remember what he was and where he belonged.  Never once did the father disown his son, cast out his name as evil, or come after him with vengeance and spite.  The father who brought his son into the world took full responsibility for his son.  His son made some mistakes, chose a wrongful path, believed that he could find his happiness in a world opposite of the place he called home – and the entire time he was gone, his father kept his spot waiting for him.  The son was his father’s treasure, even as we are our Father’s treasure.  The son never lost the grandeur that was his from birth, he simply misplaced it and chose a path of grandiosity that left him feeding pigs, despairing of his next meal. 

Filthy, stinking, feeding pigs and despairing of his next meal, never took the truth away from the son and it will never divide the truth about us.  We can think of ourselves as dirty rotten sinners; in our arrogance we can lift up the illusions of might that the world boasts about and think that God is going to fight against that which has absolutely no substance.  We can blame the bombs and the terror upon God and say that He is going to avenge us for all our sins.  We can take sides in the world’s name-calling, finger-pointing blame game.  We can feel obligated to keep up to speed on the latest news feed – but this world is not our home. This world is not God’s Kingdom and our flesh and blood do not define us. 

Truth cannot be divided and so our evaluation of ourselves must match God’s evaluation of us.  God established our worth and we never need to defend God or defend our worthiness.  There is absolutely no power in the world that can attack what we are in God nor triumph over it.  Truth is true.  I cannot be saved one day and lost the next for God does not throw away or turn His back upon His creation. 

In your personal devotion today ask Holy Spirit to show you what you are in God.  He will show you.  Do not be afraid.  Do not shrink back and say that this cannot be so.  Because God loves you.  He shared everything He is with you.  He shares His divinity, His nobility, His grandeur.  Listen and do not question what you hear, Jesus tells us.  For God does not deceive. 

Ask Holy Spirit to help you replace the ego’s belief in littleness and grandiosity with God’s Answer to what you are.  This is who we are in God – do not question it but accept it and know it for what it is. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. VIII Grandeur vs grandiosity. 7-11.  Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

VIII.  Grandeur vs Grandiosity 1-6

  1. Grandeur is of God, and only of Him. Therefore, it is in you. Whenever you become aware of it, however dimly, you abandoned the ego automatically, because in the presence of the grandeur of God the meaninglessness of the ego becomes perfectly apparent. When this occurs, even though it does not understand it, the ego believes that its enemy has struck, and attempts to offer gifts to induce you to return to its protection. Self-inflation is the only offering it can make. The grandiosity of the ego is its alternative to the grandeur of God. Which will you choose?
  2. Grandiosity is always a cover for despair. It is without hope because it is not real. It is an attempt to counteract your littleness, based on the belief that the littleness is real. Without this belief grandiosity is meaningless, and you could not possibly want it. The essence of grandiosity is competitiveness because it always involves attack. It is a delusional attempt to outdo, but not to undo. We said before that the ego vacillates between suspiciousness and viciousness. It remains suspicious as long as you despair of yourself. It shifts to viciousness when you decide not to tolerate self-abasement and seek relief. Then it offers you the illusion of attack as a “solution.”
  3. The ego does not understand the difference between grandeur and grandiosity, because it sees no difference between miracle impulses and ego-alien beliefs of its own. I told you that the ego is aware of threats to its existence but makes no distinctions because these two are very different kinds of threat. Its profound sense of vulnerability renders it incapable of judgment except in terms of attack. When the ego experiences threat, its only decision is whether to attack now or to withdraw to attack later.  If you accept its offer of grandiosity it will attack immediately. If you do not, it will wait.
  4. The ego is immobilized in the presence of God’s grandeur, because His grandeur establishes your freedom. Even the faintest hint of your reality literally drives the ego from your mind because you will give up all investment in it. Grandeur is totally without illusions, and because it is real it is compellingly convincing. Yet the conviction of reality will not remain with you unless you do not allow the ego to attack it. The ego will make every effort to recover and mobilize its energies against your release. It will tell you that you are insane and argue that grandeur cannot be a real part of you because of the littleness in which it believes. Yet your grandeur is not delusional because you did not make it.  You made grandiosity and are afraid of it because it is a form of attack, but your grandeur is of God, who created it out of His Love.
  5. From your grandeur you can only bless because your grandeur is your abundance. By blessing you hold it in your mind, protecting it from illusions and keeping yourself in the mind of God. Remember always that you cannot be anywhere except in the Mind of God. When you forget this, you will despair, and you will attack.
  6. The ego depends solely on your willingness to tolerate it. If you are willing to look upon your grandeur you cannot despair, and therefore you cannot want the ego. Your grandeur is God’s answer to the ego because it is true. Littleness and grandeur cannot coexist, nor is it possible for them to alternate. Littleness and grandiosity can and must alternate since both are not true and are therefore on the same level. Being the level of shift, it is experienced as shifting and extremes are its essential characteristic.[1]

The word grandeur signifies majesty, greatness, and splendor.  As comfortable as we are ascribing these words to God, we are rarely encouraged to think of ourselves in these terms!  But Jesus tells us today that God is in us and of us and when we become the least bit aware of God’s grandeur we automatically become aware of our own.  In those moments of awareness, the ego loses all of its meaning to us.  We are no longer interested in any of the gifts the world offers us, riches and fame, popularity, longevity, world travel, adventures, and knowing all the right people starts to seem trivial and shallow. Having our nose in everybody else’s business, passing along stories we make up about each other, priding ourselves on how much dirt we can dig up on others is just a waste of time.  And yet the moment the ego senses that we are awakening to the truth of the matter, it attempts to lure us back to its illusion of protection.  Inflating our egos is the only offering it can make – Jesus calls this grandiosity, and we have all been there and we all know others, even those who claim to love God the most, who have chosen grandiosity over the grandeur of God. 

There is a lot of talk about narcissism.  Everybody knows a few.  It is very common to accuse our exes of narcissism.  And yet very few of us are capable of recognizing the self-inflation of the ego in our own lives.  Yet whenever our ego’s become inflated, it is always a cover for the despair we feel in a world void of meaning and purpose, in a world designed to eat us alive.  Our egos grow large to counteract how small and helpless and alone we feel.  If we did not believe we were godless and void we would never accept comparisons, competition, and attack as modes of relating to each other.  If we did not accept the ego’s dim view of us, why would we try to outdo others and be jealous and spiteful toward anybody?  If we did not feel small, we would not strut about full of empty air, looking down instead of at others.  Do not demonize narcissists for while they can be dangerous, they are lonely, sad, and hurting.  They are at the mercy of a volatile ego who will never tolerate them being puffed up for long, even if it is on emptiness. 

In paragraph four, Jesus tells us that the faintest hint of our truth literally drives the ego out of our minds because once we know the truth about what we are, we naturally give up all investment in the ego.  But we are to be aware that ego does not go down without a fight – it will do everything in its power to keep us from awakening to our reality in God.  When we know ourselves as the grandeur of God, the ego will tell us that we are out of our minds.  Who do you think you are?  Look at you – you are a nobody, a nothing, a has-been, the ego will say.  But no matter what the ego tries to make of us, our grandeur is true because God shared it with us when we were created.  Our egos made grandiosity and we don’t like it – we see it for what it is, especially when it is someone other than ourselves who thinks they are more special than the rest of us.  Nobody likes to feel less than.  It feels like a personal attack when you are doing your best to hold things together and someone calls you and blathers on for hours about their own life and never once stops to ask a single question about yours!  Nobody likes a narcissist or wants to be called one.  But the grandeur of God is not egotistical.  We did not make it. The grandeur of God was created from His Love. 

From our grandeur we can only bless others because our grandeur is our abundance.  When we bless others instead of feel better than others, we protect our grandeur from the lies of the ego.  We keep ourselves in the mind of God.  If we do not want to fall into illusions, if we want to keep ourselves from narcissism and egotistical ruses, we must remember that we can never be anywhere except in the Mind of God.  If we forget this, we will give up hope, and we will attack others instead of bless them.  We do not have to work to stay in the Mind of God.  We do not have to worry that we can lose our place in the Mind of God.  We are always in the Mind of God.  We just won’t know it if we forget.  And forgetting it, we will give place to the ego in our lives.  We will deny ourselves the grandeur of God for the grandiosity of the ego and it will not make us happy.

It is our choice.  As long as we are willing to tolerate the ego in our lives, we will be depressed, despondent, and destructive. Jesus tells us that pettiness and grandiosity are lies which switch places, sometimes we will feel small, spiteful, and insignificant, other times we will be puffed up on our own false pride and arrogance.  Grandiosity is the ego’s substitute for the grandeur of God.  It is very unstable because the ego is changeable and does not know what we are.  Sometimes we will feel at the mercy of the world, other times we will feel the world is at our mercy.  There will be extreme highs and plummeting lows.  These are the essential characteristics of grandiosity. 

We will end today’s review with paragraph six and complete the rest of this section tomorrow.  In the meantime, review today’s text in your personal devotions and ask Holy Spirit to show you examples from your own life that will illuminate the contrast between the grandiosity of the ego and the grandeur of God.  Will with Holy Spirit and accept God’s answer to the ego because it is your truth, it is my truth, and it is the truth that will save us all. 

[1] A Course in Miracles.  Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement.  VIII Grandeur vs grandiosity 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

VII.  The Two Evaluations

  1. God’s Will is your salvation. Would He not have given you the means to find it? If He wills you to have it, He must have made it possible and easy to obtain it. Your brothers are everywhere. You do not have to seek far for salvation. Every minute and every second gives you a chance to save yourself. Do not lose these chances, not because they will not return, but because delay of joy is needless. God wills you perfect happiness now. Is it possible that this is not also your will? And is it possible that this is not also the will of your brothers?
  2. Consider, then, that in this joint will you are all united, and in this only. There may be disagreement on anything else, but not on this.  This, then, is where peace abides. And you abide in peace when you so decide. Yet you cannot abide in peace unless you accept the Atonement, because the Atonement is the way to peace. The reason is very simple, and so obvious that it is often overlooked. The ego is afraid of the obvious since obviousness is the essential characteristic of reality. Yet you cannot overlook it unless you are not looking.
  3. It is perfectly obvious that if the Holy Spirit looks with love on all He perceives, He looks with love on you. His evaluation of you is based on His knowledge of what you are, and so He evaluates you truly. And this evaluation must be in your mind because He is. The ego is also in your mind, you have accepted it there. Its evaluation of you, however, is the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit’s, because the ego does not love you. It is unaware of what you are and is wholly mistrustful of everything it perceives because its perceptions are so shifting.  The ego is therefore capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst. That is its range. It cannot exceed it because of its uncertainty. It can never go beyond it because it can never be certain.
  4. You, then, have two conflicting evaluations of yourself in your mind, and they cannot both be true. You do not yet realize how completely different these evaluations are, because you do not understand how lofty the Holy Spirit’s perception of you is. He is not deceived by anything you do, because He never forgets what you are. The ego is deceived by everything you do, especially when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such time its confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you act lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving and you are going against its judgment. The ego will attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness since its uncertainty is increased. Yet it is surely pointless to attack in return. What can this mean except that you are agreeing with the ego’s evaluation of what you are?
  5. If you choose to see yourself as unloving you will not be happy. You are condemning yourself and must therefore regard yourself as inadequate. Would you look to the ego to help you escape from a sense of inadequacy it has produced, and must maintain for its existence? Can you escape from its evaluation of you by using its methods for keeping this picture intact?
  6. You cannot evaluate an insane belief system from within it. Its range precludes this. You can only go beyond it, look back from a point where sanity exists and see the contrast. Only by this contrast can insanity be judged as insane. With the grandeur of God in you, you have chosen to be little and to lament your littleness. Within the system that dictated this choice the lament is inevitable. Your littleness is taken for granted there and you do not ask, “Who granted it?” The question is meaningless within the ego’s thought system because it would open the whole thought system to question.
  7. I have said that the ego does not know what a real question is. Lack of knowledge of any kind is always associated with an unwillingness to know, and this produces a total lack of knowledge simply because knowledge is total. Not to question your littleness therefore is to deny all knowledge and keep the ego’s whole thought system intact. You cannot retain part of a thought system because it can be questioned only at its foundation. And this must be questioned from beyond it, because within it, its foundation does stand. The Holy Spirit judges against the reality of the ego’s thought system merely because He knows its foundation is not true. Therefore, nothing that arises from it means anything. He judges every belief you hold in terms of where it comes from. If it comes from God, He knows it to be true. If it does not, He knows that it is meaningless.
  8. Whenever you question your value, say: “God Himself is incomplete without me.” Remember this when the ego speaks, and you will not hear it. The truth about you is so lofty that nothing that is unworthy of God is worthy of you. Choose, then, what you want in these terms, and accept nothing that you would not offer to God as holy fitting for Him. You do not want anything else. Return your part to Him, and He will give you all of Himself in exchange for the return of what belongs to Him and renders Him complete.[1]

We have countless opportunities in our life to experience God’s Will because it is our salvation and we find our salvation, not alone but in others.  Everywhere we turn, we find salvation!  It is in our brothers that we find our joy, and God’s Will is our perfect happiness. God takes no delight in our sorrow, confusion, or disregard for our brothers.  God created us to love one another, accept each other, and to believe in the Holy Spirit’s evaluation of His Sons. 

We are all united in God’s Will because God’s Will is the same for everybody.  That does not mean that we are going to agree about everything.  God’s Will does not make us automatons that chant, rise, sit, sing, pray, and raise our hands as one.  It simply means that we cast nobody into a lake of fire for any reason.  We extend the love and acceptance of Jesus to everybody. This is a spiritual walk and does not necessarily pertain to the flesh.  There are people whom we are going to accept in the Spirit but avoid in the flesh for no other reason than they are simply not aware of their Sonship yet.  Damaged people are very often dangerous people.  Even their views on salvation are often so skewed and retaliative against the world which hurt them that they simply cannot be trusted with one’s children, with one’s household, with one’s property, and with one’s trust. 

Jesus does not ask us to put ourselves in dangerous positions with others.  He simply asks us to accept them as our brother, to continue to believe in them because we believe in Jesus and because we believe that God’s Will is not fearful, sorrowful, or spiteful.  When people tell us with their words or with their behaviors that they mean us harm, do not care about our happiness, or have no appreciation for the blessings we have brought into their life, we are under no obligation to do any more for them than love them in Jesus and offer them the Atonement in our hearts and minds. 

When we offer others the Atonement we are not offering them the false forgiveness of the world.  Only the Atonement forgives wrongdoing by undoing it, thus eradicating it forever.  We offer the Atonement to others, not by saying to them, I offer you the Atonement.  This would give them an opportunity to reject it!  Or this could frighten them or put false ideas in their mind about what we are.  We offer others the Atonement by asking Holy Spirit to forgive them because it is not our function to forgive them, it is only our function to share love, peace, and joy.   Holy Spirit forgives others when we ask Him to forgive.  We let the forgiving and the undoing up to Holy Spirit simply by giving the wrongdoing of others to God. 

The only way we reap the beautiful rewards of Atonement is by offering it to our brothers.  We are not here to change them.  We are not here to let them walk all over us.  We are not here to put ourselves in harm’s way just to prove how Christlike we are.  We are simply here to offer them Atonement, to ask Holy Spirit to atone for their works of the flesh even as we accept the Atonement for our own mistakes and personal failings. 

The ego looks on our brothers with fear and loathing and disgust.  The ego looks on our brothers as a nitpicker, with jealousy, spite, and malice.  The ego seeks to divide and make war.  The ego is afraid of the Atonement because giving our grudges, spite, and calls for war to Holy Spirit leads to peace and peace is the condition of God’s Kingdom, but certainly not the realm of ego.   

Holy Spirit looks with love on you and on me.  He looks with love on all the people who have cheated us, abused us, used us, and talked mean about us behind our backs.  Holy Spirit does not evaluate  us on that which means nothing – He evaluates on what we are to God.  He sees each one of us as the Treasure of God.  He does not care that I stole your accordion or that you trash-talked me out of jealousy and spite.  That which is not peace, which is not love, which is not joy holds absolutely no interest to Holy Spirit.  When we get to the place in our spiritual walks where we have no more interest in such foolishness we will know that the ego is losing its grip on our minds.

Jesus tells us in paragraph three that in our human state, we have both Holy Spirit in our minds as well as the ego.  Holy Spirit resides in our higher minds; the ego’s domain in our lower, reptilian mind that reflects the separation from God and the lies and illusions of the perceptual world. 

Holy Spirit evaluates us with love.  Holy Spirit’s function in our minds is to remind us of who and what we really are and to save our minds from the lies, the fiction, the illusion of the ego.  Holy Spirit always goes to bat for us in direct relation to how we go to bat for others.  When we offer Atonement to our brothers, the ones we love as well as the ones we are not so keen about, our minds are freed from the illusion of separateness.  We find that the very brothers we were loathe to forgive are the very ones that taught us lessons critical to our awakening.  Clearly, this does not mean we invite people who are harmful into our lives and give them another chance to “teach” us a lesson that hurts us!  We simply give their wrongdoing to Holy Spirit and ask for Atonement in our minds.  This sets our minds free from ruminating about their wrongdoing and gives us full appreciation for the Atonement in our own minds.  For when we offer Atonement to others, we accept it for ourselves and are then free to fulfill our function.  Only in a state of peace can we give and have the creations of God’s Kingdom.  A mind that is full of love, peace, and joy is a beautiful thing.  It is so blissful and serene that the slightest temptation to bear ill will is seen as immediately as insane! 

The ego looks upon Atonement with fear and loathing for Atonement is its demise.  It can only exist as long as we believe the best and the worst about ourselves and others.  It can only exist in the spaces and outlines between us, in the quasi-reality of the perceptual world where opposites and opposition really does appear real, dangerous, and even scintillating.  As long as we believe in truth and lies, as long as we fear God rather than love Him, as long as we feel ashamed and unworthy of God’s Son, we continue on in the flesh holding God accountable for the seeming mercies of the elements and the changing tides of the ego.  The Atonement is the awakening – it undoes all the works of the flesh, the schemes and manipulations of the ego – because it exposes the illusion for what it is! 

The two evaluations cannot both be true.  One seems very true in the world of perception but brings us down.  It finds fault, it gets jealous, it is conniving and shuns mutuality – it either wants to be the big cheese or it wants to be the little mouse worshipping the big cheese.  The ego is always deceived by everything because it was made by a lie and all that is based upon opposites.  The ego is especially spiteful when we create love, peace, and joy with our brothers because its evaluation of us is that which is not love, and we are going against its judgment against us.    

One of the ways that we can see this operate in the world are the occasions when someone performs a loving deed, an act of kindness, shows appreciation or extends graciousness.  The ego will often interpret this as “putting on an act.”  “She is just putting on an act,” someone will say.  “We know how she really is.  She can’t fool us.”  Or “He must want something.”  The ego can not imagine you or me or anybody else doing something nice for the sheer joy in sharing!   

Holy Spirit, however, never evaluates against us.  He absolutely does not see through the eyes of the ego.  He knows the truth about us.  We may call someone’s goodness an act, but Holy Spirit knows that goodness cannot be faked, that love is the only real thing there is, and that God’s Treasures cannot thrive in the low realm of ego and will eventually find their way Home. 

Accepting ego’s evaluation of us makes us feel smarmy, ill, and fraudulent.  No matter how hard we work, how many credentials we accumulate, no matter how much money we give, or how we sacrifice our own happiness to give others a hand – as long as we choose the ego’s evaluation of what we are, we condemn ourselves and God.  The world offers us no escape from ego’s condemnation of us – we cannot look for help from that which prospers from our sense of worthlessness.  We cannot evaluate an insane belief system from within the same system.  We must go beyond it and look back from a place where sanity exists to see the contrast.  The contrast is what helps us to judge just how delusional the world and the ego systems that uphold it really are. 

The Voice for God bespeaks the grandeur of God, it is our true Self for we were created holy, and we were created Spirit.  We who are the grandeur of God, His Treasure, make of ourselves small and of no account when we choose the ego’s evaluation of us.  We become very unhappy and distraught.  There is no way around this, there is no escape within the system that made it – any help it offers to make you happy will be a pretense, it will cost you your life and livelihood, it will drain you of your resources and leave you hanging out to dry. 

Holy Spirit eradicates the ego simply by giving it no consideration.  Because its whole belief system is based upon that which is not true, there is no reality in the ego’s evaluation of us.  Working with Holy Spirit we look at the ego’s thought system that tells us we are miserable sinners and say, “How could that be?”  If we made ourselves, we would not make of ourselves miserable sinners, so why would God make miserable sinners of us?  If we made ourselves, we would not make ourselves little and mean and spiteful, so surely God would not make us little, mean, and spiteful.  If we made ourselves, we would not make ourselves vulnerable, fleshy, and doomed to die, and so why would God make us vulnerable, fleshy, and doomed to die?  We must ask ourselves these questions from beyond the systems in which we are entrenched.  As long as we are under the spell of our ego-based religions, our lower minds, our enchantment with the flesh and all of its demands, we cannot question it because it seems to make sense because it is all we can perceive. 

None of the ego’s thought system has any truth, and Holy Spirit knows that nothing that happens within it means anything.  Holy Spirit evaluates every belief we have in terms of where it came from.  If it comes from God – it is true, if it does not come from God – it has no meaning.   

Our worth is beyond any value that the world can place upon it.  When the ego asks, “Who do you think you are?” the perfect response is “God Himself is incomplete without me.”  Today in your personal devotions, ask Holy Spirit to show you the truth about you, to illuminate your mind with your worthiness which is the worthiness of God.  Jesus tells us to refuse to accept for ourselves anything we would not offer God.  Make your mind strong in accepting the Atonement, for we cannot share the Atonement until we accept it for ourselves.  Give no thought to what the ego would make of you because it is a lie.  Refuse to believe it by not arguing with it, not fighting with it, but simply taking a stand.  Say, “God Himself is incomplete without me.  No matter what the ego has wrought in my life, it does not define me, because I belong to God.”   Strengthen your resolve by giving your best to God to receive His best in return, for you are only giving Him what already belongs to Him in truth.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The two evaluations. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

VI.  The Acceptance of Your Brother

  1. How can you become increasingly aware of the Holy Spirit in you except by His effects? You cannot see Him with your eyes nor hear Him with your ears. How, then, can you perceive Him at all? If you inspire joy and others react to you with joy, even though you are not experiencing joy yourself there must be something in you that is capable of producing it. If it is in you and can produce joy, and if you see that it does produce joy in others, you must be dissociating it in yourself.
  2. It seems to you that the Holy Spirit does not produce joy consistently in you only because you do not consistently arouse joy in others. Their reactions to you are your evaluations of His consistency. When you are inconsistent you will not always give rise to joy, and so you will not always recognize His consistency. What you offer to your brother you offer to Him; He cannot go beyond your offering in His giving. This is not because He limits His giving, but simply because you have limited your receiving. The decision to receive is the decision to accept.
  3. If your brothers are part of you, will you accept them? Only they can teach you what you are, for your learning is the result of what you taught them. What you call upon in them you call upon in yourself. And as you call upon it in them, it becomes real to you. God has but one Son, knowing them all as one. Only God Himself is more than they but they are not less than He is. Would you know what this means? If what you do to my brother you do to me, and if you do everything for yourself because we are part of you, everything we do belongs to you as well. Everyone God created is part of you and shares His glory with you. His glory belongs to Him, but it is equally yours. You cannot, then, be less glorious than He is.
  4. God is more than you only because He created you, but not even this would He keep from you. Therefore, you can create as He did, and your dissociation will not alter this.  Neither God’s light nor yours is dimmed because you do not see. Because the Sonship must create as one, you remember creation whenever you recognize part of creation. Each part you remember adds to your wholeness because each part is whole. Wholeness is indivisible, but you cannot learn of your wholeness until you see it everywhere. You can know yourself only as God knows His Son, for knowledge is shared with God. When you awaken in Him you will know your magnitude by accepting His limitlessness first.  But meanwhile you will judge it as you judge your brothers and will accept it as you accept his.
  5. You are not yet awake, but you can learn how to awaken. Very simply the Holy Spirit teaches you to awaken others. As you see them awaken you will learn what waking means, and because you have chosen to wake them, their gratitude and their appreciation of what you have given them will teach you its value. They will become the witnesses to your reality, as you were created witnesses to God’s. Yet when the Sonship comes together and accepts its oneness it will be known by its creations, who witness to its reality as the Son does to the Father.
  6. Miracles have no place in eternity because they are reparative. Yet while you still need healing, your miracles are the only witnesses to your reality that you can recognize. You cannot perform a miracle for yourself because miracles are a way of giving acceptance and receiving it. In time the giving comes first, though they are simultaneous in eternity, where they cannot be separated. When you have learned they are the same, the need for time is over.   
  7. Eternity is one time, its only dimension being “always.” This cannot mean anything to you until you remember God’s open Arms, and finally know His open Mind. Like Him, you are always, in His Mind and with a mind like His. In your open mind are your creations, in perfect communication born of perfect understanding. Could you but accept one of them, you would not want anything the world has to offer. Everything else would be totally meaningless. God’s meaning is incomplete without you, and you are incomplete without your creations. Accept your brother in this world and accept nothing else, for in him you will find your creations because he created them with you. You will never know that you are co-creator with God until you learn that your brother is co-creator with you. [1]

It is only by the joy we inspire in others that we can perceive ourselves as holy and as spirit.  Our physical eyes look outward; we can only see our bodies in parts unless we look at our reflections in a mirror or through another person’s observations.  As babies we can only learn about ourselves by the reactions of others.  If our caretakers love us, we will feel loved, accepted, and worthwhile.  If they do not love us, we will feel unloved, unaccepted and unworthy.  If there is a mixture of love and revulsion, we will be confused about our worth and spend a lot of our time here in a daze trying to figure it out! 

But how do we perceive the Spirit? Through the joyful reactions we inspire in others.  Holy Spirit is our fundamental nature.  It is joyful and it extends joy to others.  If we are extending joy to others, but not experiencing it ourselves, we are simply not recognizing what we have and what we are.  We may be afraid to associate with holiness because we are still more comfortable identifying with the “dirty rotten sinner” version of the ego. 

We tend to feel wobbly about our relationship with Holy Spirit, but there is no need to be afraid that we will lose it, that Holy Spirit will become indignant with us and leave us.  This will never happen for we were created in holiness and for holiness and we were created in spirit and for spirit.  Flesh does not determine who we are as God’s Son. 

Until we accept this for ourselves and for all of our brothers, we limit our knowing of Holy Spirit in our lives.  We limit the amount of joy we receive because we limit our acceptance of this truth.  What we offer to our brother is what we offer to Holy Spirit – Holy Spirit cannot go beyond what we extend to others.  As long as I am withholding acceptance toward my brothers, as long as I look at them as sinners, and label them according to the judgements I have made toward their addictions, their behaviors, their treatment of me – I am not extending joy.  I am projecting judgment and condemnation. I am putting myself in a different category than my brother and therefore setting a limit on what I can accept from Holy Spirit.  For we cannot be consistently joyful or express Holy Spirit in our lives as long as we think that we have something that others do not have.  The decision to receive the joy of the Lord is the decision to accept that it is intended for all. 

In paragraph three Jesus tells us that only our brothers can teach us what we are because what we learn from them is what we taught them about ourselves.  What we judge about our brothers is exactly what we call upon in our own selves.  If I label my brother a dimwit, I will be made aware of my own incapacity to understand concepts or abstractions.  If I label my friend clumsy, I will be keenly aware of what a klutz I am!  If I label my atheistic neighbor as unsaved, I will be uncertain of my own salvation.  Everything I call upon in others, will seem real about me. 

God has only one Son and knows all of His Sons as one.  Until we can accept that God is more than all of us, but we are not less than He is can we understand the oneness and unity and wholeness we can only have in God.  In paragraph three, Jesus tells us that what we do to our brothers we do to Jesus, for we are one.  Everything we do belongs to the Brotherhood of Christ; everything each part of the Brotherhood of Christ does belongs to us.  Every single person created by God is part of me and part of you and we share in the glory of God in everybody.  The glory in each of us belongs to God, and yet it is equally mine and equally yours.  The glory of God cannot be diminished by sharing but only increased.

Whether we accept it or not, God does not keep Himself from us.  We are created by Him, to be like Him.  He did not create us to be servants, to be grovelers before Him, to be His little children who are always in a state of subjection and immaturity so He can boss us around for all eternity.  We must lose this image of God which has been instilled in us in order to keep us in an arrested state of development, which suits the purposes of this world but not God’s Kingdom where we belong. 

God’s Light shines in us.  It will not be dimmed just because we do not see it or accept it.  Whenever we recognize the light in any part of creation, we remember God.  Each part we remember adds to our wholeness because each part is whole.  Wholeness cannot be divided, but it will seem divided – we will see the outlines and spaces between us – until we see wholeness everywhere and in everyone.  We will not know what we really are until we accept ourselves as part of God’s Sonship, as part of the whole, as completing the Kingdom of God. 

When we awaken in God, when our minds become fully cognizant of His magnitude which He shares with us, of His everlasting and infinite power, we will know ourselves as we really are.  But in the meantime, we will judge God as we judge our brothers and judging them, we judge ourselves. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph five that we are not yet awake, but we can learn to awaken.  To wake up, we awaken others because this is how it works.  We are not called to awaken for ourselves alone. I take this to mean that we do not have to know it all before I share the light that does get through.  As I share it with you, the light comes on in you and your light awakens others and so on.  There is no call here to be an apprentice for ten years before we get to mastery; there is no call here to spend decades in the Course before we are worthy to share what we learned; there is no call to have a degree, to be certified in any way, or that this little light is any less than your larger one.  As we share the light in us without fear, without judgment, without timidity or false modesty, we teach each other through our appreciation and thankfulness of the value of waking up versus staying asleep.  In a world designed to obscure reality and make false images to stand for God, we become each other’s witness to our reality in God, even as we are created as witnesses to God’s reality.  Together we are known for our creations – for our love, our peace, our joy – indeed any of the attributes of God will be our witness to reality, even as the Sonship witnesses the reality of God. 

Miracles are reparative.  They heal, they work outside the laws of this world.  While there is no need for miracles in God’s Kingdom, here in this one the miracles we offer are the only way in which we can recognize the reality of God.  Without miracles, the perceptual world seems too compelling not to be real.  Without miracles, our bodies and the names that we are given at birth or choose for ourselves seem to be all the identity we need.  Without miracles, we have to fend for ourselves against a world that would take every gift and turn it into a commodity, a bargaining tool, a call for sacrifice masked by the face of benevolence and charity. 

Miracles are not performed by the lone rangers of the spiritual word.  Signs and wonders may excite and flatter the ego, but they are little more than magic acts.  Go to the circus and be wowed by the performance but go home and you are still sick, you still hate your neighbor for infringing on your property line, you still cannot get along with your family.  This is not the witness to our reality in God that Jesus is talking about.  I spent my childhood under the Big Revival tent of A. A. Allen.  It was so exciting to hear the peppy music, to hear the fiery sermons, to witness the long prayer lines – the people in wheelchairs that rose up and walked, the people brought in on stretchers that leaped about, the demons that were cast out of people right up on the stage.  My mother was hooked by these performances, piling us all into her station wagon and hauling us to the nearest cities where the evangelist appeared next.  There was tongue speaking and banging foreheads and people dropping out flat on the floor under the power of the Holy Ghost. 

Although it may sound like I have judgment and condemnation for this, I have none.  I simply feel as if we need to question what are the fruits of all this excitement and frenzy when miracles are used as a performance, to be witness to the reality of God, by one man on a platform who exhausts himself with the laying on of hands and the ministry of Christ?  We are not called to be an audience to that.  Signs and wonders may be necessary for unbelievers, but as believers in Christ miracles are a way of giving acceptance and receiving it. 

Miracles are quiet and calm as Holy Spirit is quiet and calm.  There is nothing necessarily showy or glamorous about a miracle though when you extend a miracle to me and I extend a miracle to you it is the most elegant and gracious act that the world can conceive for you welcome me and I welcome you as part of God’s Creation, as part of God’s Kingdom, as part of God Himself.  We look past all the ways in which the world would make us seem different and we recognize our oneness, our completeness in one another.  And because we recognize this, that which was sick in us is healed. 

It is important to note that in this realm, you give me acceptance and I give you acceptance before we receive acceptance, but in eternity the giving and receiving are inseparable.  When we learn that giving and receiving are the same, when all the fear attached to accepting one another is over, when we realize that we are one just as giving and receiving are one, our need for time is over.   

In closing, Jesus tells us that we will not understand eternity until we remember God’s open Arms and Mind.  We are always in His Mind, with a mind like His.  God’s Arms and God’s Mind are open even when ours is engaged in dreams which would oppose Him.  When we embrace the Mind of God, we will remember creation, perfect communication is ours because we have perfect understanding of everything. 

Conversely, our education in the world comes by hook and crook, in dribs and drabs, and the more we learn the more we must confess our ignorance.  The world charges us a terrible price for education – most of which we learn by trial and error.  Our lives are spent trying to squeeze every little bit of meaning out of that which only leads to death.  In other words, the world has nothing to offer us.  The enmity, the jealousies, the petty meanness and judgments that blight even the closest and dearest of friendships are the result of closing our minds and arms to the open Ones of God.  Accept only one of the attributes of God, and nothing in the world would hold any meaning to us again! 

God’s meaning is incomplete without each one of us just as we are incomplete without each other.  Accepting each other in this world and accepting no other doctrine or practice that would make of us enemies, would divide our devotion, would label us different in any way, and we will find the love, the joy, the peace of God – for we created them together.  We will remain ignorant, immature, and egotistical in our spiritual practices until we recognize our real function as God’s Son, for we cannot create love and peace and joy by ourselves or for ourselves alone. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of atonement. VI The acceptance of your brother. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

V.  The Unhealed Healer

  1. The ego’s plan for forgiveness is far more widely used than God’s. This is because it is undertaken by unhealed healers and is therefore of the ego. Let us consider the unhealed healer more carefully now. By definition, he is trying to give what he has not received. If an unhealed healer is a theologian for example, he may begin with the premise, “I am a miserable sinner, and so are you.” If he is a psychotherapist, he is more likely to start with the equally incredible belief that attack is real for both himself and the patient, but that it does not matter for either of them.
  2. I have repeatedly said that beliefs of the ego cannot be shared, and this is why they are unreal. How, then, can “uncovering” them make them real?  Every healer who searches fantasies for truth must be unhealed because he does not know where to look for truth, and therefore does not have the answer to the problem of healing.
  3. There is an advantage to bringing nightmares into awareness, but only to teach that they are not real, and that anything they contain is meaningless. The unhealed healer cannot do this because he does not believe it. All unhealed healers follow the ego’s plan for forgiveness in one form or another. If they are theologians they are likely to condemn themselves, teach condemnation, and advocate a fearful solution. Projecting condemnation onto God, they make Him appear retaliative, and fear His retribution.  What they have done is merely to identify with the ego, and by perceiving what it does, condemn themselves because of this confusion. It is understandable that there have been revolts against this concept, but to revolt against it is still to believe in it.
  4. Some newer forms of the ego’s plan are as unhelpful as the older ones, because form does not matter, and the content has not changed. In one of the newer forms, for example, a psychotherapist may interpret the ego’s symbols in a nightmare and then use them to prove that the nightmare is real. Having made it real, he then attempts to dispel its effects by depreciating the importance of the dreamer. This would be a healing approach if the dreamer were also identified as unreal. Yet if the dreamer is equated with the mind, the mind’s corrective power through the Holy Spirit is denied. This is a contradiction even in the ego’s terms, and one which it usually notes even in its confusion.
  5. If the way to counteract fear is to reduce the importance of the mind, how can this build ego strength? Such evident inconsistencies account for why no one has really explained what happens in psychotherapy. Nothing really does. Nothing real has happened to the unhealed healer, and he must learn from his own teaching. His ego will always seek to get something from the situation.  The unhealed healer therefore does not know how to give, and consequently cannot share. He cannot correct because he is not working correctively. He believes that it is up to him to teach the patient what is real, although he does not know it himself.
  6. What then, should happen? When God said, “Let there be light,” there was light. Can you find light by analyzing darkness, as a psychotherapist does, or like the theologian, by acknowledging darkness in yourself and looking for a distant light to remove it, while emphasizing the distance? Healing is not mysterious. Nothing will change unless it is understood, since light is understanding. A “miserable sinner” cannot be healed without magic, nor can an “unimportant mind” esteem itself without magic.
  7. Both forms of the ego’s approach, then, must arrive at an impasse; The characteristic “impossible situation” to which the ego always leads. It may help someone to point out where he is heading, but the point is lost unless he is also helped to change his direction.  The unhealed healer cannot do this for him since he cannot do it for himself. The only meaningful contribution the healer can make is to present an example of one whose direction has been changed for him, and who no longer believes in nightmares of any kind. The light in his mind will therefore answer the questioner who must decide with God that there is light because he sees it. And by his acknowledgement the healer knows it is there. That is how perception ultimately is translated into knowledge. The miracle worker begins by perceiving light and translates his perception into sureness by continually extending it and accepting its acknowledgment. Its effects assure him it is there.
  8. A therapist does not heal; he lets healing be. He can point to darkness, but he cannot bring light of himself, for light is not of him. Yet, being for him, it must also be for his patient. The Holy Spirit is the only Therapist. He makes healing clear in any situation in which He is the Guide. You can only let Him fulfill His function. He needs no help for this.  He will tell you exactly what to do to help anyone He sends to you for help and will speak to him through you if you do not interfere. Remember that you choose the guide for helping, and the wrong choice will not help. But remember also that the right one will. Trust Him, for help is His function, and he is of God.  As you awaken other minds to the Holy Spirit through Him, and not yourself, you will understand that you are not obeying the laws of this world. But the laws you are obeying work.  “The good is what works” is a sound though insufficient statement. Only the good can work.  Nothing else works at all.
  9. This course offers a very direct and a very simple learning situation and provides the Guide Who tells you what to do. If you do it, you will see that it works. Its results are more convincing then its words. They will convince you that the words are true. By following the right Guide, you will learn the simplest of all lessons:

By their fruits Ye shall know them, and they shall know themselves. [1]

In yesterday’s blog post we discussed the ego’s plan of forgiveness, and in today’s text reading, Jesus explores the use of, and the ramifications involved in using this plan for healing.  When I first heard the term “unhealed healer,” my mind did a little somersault because the phrase eloquently and succinctly sums up the way in which the world offers healing.  It pretends to be charitable; it pretends to be benevolent; it pretends to understand sickness and its cure – but at the core of it, there is nothing but a revolving door that leads to nothing and nowhere.  Jesus defines the unhealed healer as someone who tries to give something which he simply does not have. 

As long as we come from a premise of sin and shame, we are identifying with the lie about us.  Believing that we are sinners and unworthy of God’s Grace denies our Sonship, it reinforces the belief that we must grovel and beg God to take us back and let us be His Servants, let us be His devotees, let us into His Kingdom by the skin of our knees so we can bow down before Him forever and tell Him how big and beautiful He is.  This kind of belief system is what leads to sickness because it denies what we really are and what we were created to be.  When we believe we were created to be grovelers, we demean not only ourselves but God Who created us! 

Someone who is lost and confused and far away from home held in captivity by fear and threats, lies and seductions is not a dirty rotten sinner.  No matter what he does in such a state cannot be held against him because he is fighting for survival here; he is ruled by instincts not of his own making, he is controlled by chemicals and drives and impulses that he does not control.  He has forgotten who he is and where he belongs and what he is supposed to do.  To tell this person that he is a sinner, that he is responsible for the hot mess of his life, that he should be ashamed of himself and ask God to forgive him is to increase his confusion. 

To offer him a plan of forgiveness that involves the sacrifice of God’s perfect Son who died on a cross 2000 years ago, only leads to more bewilderment.  Jesus calls this magic because in order to accept this plan of salvation, we must numb our minds to its baffling logic and accept the witchy solution of “the blood of Jesus.”  To break free from this magical solution, we must ask ourselves the following questions:  How can we love and trust a God Who demands blood?  How can we love and trust a God Who would let an innocent son stand in for all the bad ones?  How can we put our trust in a God Who takes vengeance upon His Own creations?  Why would God punish us, shame us, humiliate us, and torment us or even allow such things to happen if He is indeed our Loving Creation?  Punishment simply does not correct or heal, but rather divides and sickens and fills with fear. 

Spilling it all out with a therapist is only helpful if the therapist knows that none of this is real and is only using talk therapy in a way to demonstrate the unreality of the reality ruse.  To spend years in psychotherapy trying to resolve childhood trauma does nothing but make that which has no meaning define the course of one’s life and being.  That which is translated into light and understanding and freedom under the Therapy of Holy Spirit, is made into a life sentence by the therapist that is caught up in the illusion that there can be someone to blame, someone or something on which to pin the shame, someone to “forgive,” for what they did to ruin our life.  We can only be set free from this racket, when we eventually realize that our therapist has little real healing to offer us, that they are just as confused and lost and bewildered as we do, and that our healing does not come from talking about and focusing upon that which made us sick in the first place. 

The light of understanding is for all – Jesus is not demonizing the ministers who make this kingdom their reality anymore than he is demonizing psychologists or psychiatrists.  He is simply saying that we will never find light in darkness.  Holy Spirit is the only Therapist, and our only responsibility is in allowing Him to fulfill His function.  He does not come without our bidding.  Once He comes stay out of His way because He does not need our help. 

How do we stay out of His way?  We refuse to judge.  We refrain from insinuating ourselves into the unreality and making real that which has no meaning.  Instead of telling other people about their need of salvation, accept that this is not our function – this is the function of Holy Spirit and the responsibility of God.  Trust in the Sonship of God for God Himself trusts in the Sonship.  With Holy Spirit in charge, we will know how to help anyone He sends to us.  We will not have to be afraid of saying the wrong thing or use some canned pre-scripted plan of salvation in which to convince others of their need of salvation.  We will not have to feel obligated to bring the name of Jesus into our every conversation.  For some people, the name of Jesus has not been used as a blessing but has become in their minds a cause for shame, consternation, and rebuke.  When we listen to Holy Spirit, we will not be compelled to relate to our Father or our Holy Brother as if they are big egos who are afraid we are not going to give them credit or their proper due.  Allowing Holy Spirit to speak and to work through us, learning to listen to the Voice for God within takes practice.  If we make a mistake, there is no shame.  We simply ask for correction and do it as right as we can the next time.  We can relax.  We can have fun. We are to be bonnie and blithe in Jesus.  We are not martyrs.  We are not servants.  We are not responsible for the salvation of the world; we only do our little part in extending God’s Kingdom of love and peace and joy.  Extending love and peace and joy is enjoyable.  It is pleasant.  It is rewarding.  It is safe, secure, and certain to bring good results. 

We can trust Holy Spirit implicitly for that is His function given by God.  He is not here to enlist our help, He is sent to help us through the labyrinth made of all the lies that were ever told, all the fictions that were ever made, all the fear that was ever imagined.  Attuned to Holy Spirit we must be still, we must be quiet, we must quell our yearning for that which attracts and flatters and excites the ego.  Other minds will awaken to Holy Spirit through us but not if we interfere by promoting the idea that we are special, that we are spiritual masters, that we have developed a technique, that we are in anyway, shape, or form any different from the rest of Creation.  Brag about your spirituality, and you have allowed the ego in for the ride.   Judge those whom Holy Spirit sends to you, use them as a testimony to your spiritual worth and you are welcoming the ego to latch on to that which is only for God.  The wrong choice for a guide will simply not work.  This is how we will know we are on the right path.  Because only the good works, nothing else works at all. 

A Course in Miracles gives us direction in a plain, straightforward curriculum which points us to the Guide Who tells us personally what to do with it.  For me, I was asked to study it, teach it while I was learning it, to be as honest in my sharing as possible, and to devote myself to this calling.  Though not always in ways that are immediately apparent to me, as I follow Holy Spirit’s guidance I see that it works.  The results in my personal peace of mind, healed relationships, and sense of self worth alone are convincing enough to keep plugging away even when more temporal concerns would tempt me away.  When we choose Holy Spirit for our Guide, our perceptions no longer give us opportunities to judge, to condemn, to go with the arrogant confusion of the ego – we have made our final judgment and put Holy Spirit in charge of that.  All we are here to do is extend God’s Kingdom which not only heals us but extends healing to others.  Love, Peace, and Joy are our fruits and by our fruits we come to know each other as we come to know ourselves.   

[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. V The unhealed healer. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness 7-12

7.  The confusion of functions is so typical of the ego that you should be quite familiar with it by now. The ego believes that all functions belong to it, even though it has no idea what they are. This is more than mere confusion. It is a particularly dangerous combination of grandiosity and confusion that makes the ego likely to attack anyone and anything for no reason at all. This is exactly what the ego does. It is unpredictable in its responses because it has no idea of what it perceives.

8.  If you have no idea what is happening, how appropriately can you expect to react? You might ask yourself, regardless of how you may account for the reaction, whether its unpredictability places the ego in a sound position as your guide. Let me repeat that the ego’s qualifications as a guide are singularly unfortunate, and that it is a remarkably poor choice as a teacher of salvation. Anyone who elects a totally insane guide must be totally insane himself. Nor is it true that you do not realize the guide is insane. You realize it because I realize it, and you have judged it by the same standard I have.

9.  The ego literally lives on borrowed time; its days are numbered. Do not fear the Last Judgment, but welcome it and do not wait, for the ego’s time is “borrowed” from your eternity. This is the Second Coming that was made for you as the First was created. The Second Coming is merely the return of sense. Can this possibly be fearful?

10.  What can be fearful but fantasy, and who turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality? Yet it is certain that you will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that your only hope is to change your mind about reality. Only if the decision that reality is fearful is wrong can God be right. And I assure you that God is right. Be glad, then, that you have been wrong, but this was only because you did not know who you were. Had you known, you could no more have been wrong than God can.

11.  The impossible can happen only in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of these you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them.  They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven.  Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful, but no one calls them true. Children may believe them, and so, for awhile, the tales are true for them.  Yet when reality dawns, the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile.  The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return.

12.  Behold, my child, reality is here. It belongs to you and me and God and is perfectly satisfying to all of us. Only this awareness heals because it is the awareness of truth. [1]

Our egos believe that all the functions of Holy Spirit belong to it even though it fails to understand what they are.  As a lie and a falsehood, the ego has no real conceptual understanding of what it perceives.  It is therefore unpredictable; it will turn on anyone and anything for no apparent reason.  One day it will be nice and friendly, the next day it will cranky and mean.  We have all experienced this in ourselves and in others.  Jesus points out that the lies and opposition of ego combine dangerously to form an arrogant ignorance.  Whatever the ego perceives, it will judge. The ego is ignorant of its own ignorance. While it can never know the truth or the real story about anything or anybody, but it will think it perfectly legitimate to find something negative and unworthy to project.  It attacks the rich for being rich or the poor for being poor.  It attacks someone for the color of their skin on the one hand or attacks them for being racist.   It attacks the old for being elderly and the young for being immature.  Not only does it not make any sense, but in its arrogance it will assume the authority that belongs only to God.  When ego is our guide, we deny our true abilities because we are too boorishly busy judging and condemning others, and not extending that which brings health, healing, and wholeness.    

The ego wishes to be the savior of the world.  It will trick us into thinking that it is our efforts, our prayers, our sacrifices, and our gifts which will save the world.  The ego which does not understand salvation or the message of sharing, will trick us into thinking that it is our duty to personally save everyone we see.  We think we can make bargains with God. We will make up a bunch of rules, demands, and expectations and say they are of God and then do our best to follow them.  We will chastise at best and persecute and kill at worst those who do not go along with us! 

When the ego takes charge of Atonement we are all in trouble.  It will largely be a show of the flesh – the way we dress, the way we fix our hair, the way we chop our beards, the way we say prayers, the names we call God.  Our religious texts and writings will involve a lot of curses and damnation upon those who do not believe like us, look like us, or follow the same traditions.  We will make up lakes of fire where the God of Love sends those who refuse to follow the set of ego-made rules designed to keep everyone in line.  There will be talk of freedom and liberty, but it will always come at the cost of bloodshed, sacrifice, and obedience to laws that deny freedom and liberty.  We will spend a lot of time trying to make sense of that which makes little to no sense.  We will carry around a lot of sorrow because those we love may not obey all the rules, follow the traditions, or be part of same crowd worthy of God’s Kingdom.  No matter how hard we try to be happy, happy, happy in Jesus, the sad fact is that we will be saddened by this plan of salvation.  It is impossible to count all sorrow, shame, and suffering joy.  Contemplate a heaven while the rest of the world is burning in hell, and it is no longer heaven, but an extension of hell.  We will make ninnies and social pariahs of ourselves by spouting off about how good God is to us personally while nothing about our lives reflects the specialness we claim as God’s chosen few.  This is the ego’s plan of salvation and many follow this path in the name of Jesus.  That is why Jesus calls it dangerous because it pretends to be humble and right and true, while it is arrogant, wrong, and false.

When ego is in charge of our salvation, we have no real idea how to react to the things that happen in the world.  When people refuse to worship with us, when they don’t want to follow our list of rules on how to be saved from hellfire, when they do not believe in the God we tell them about, we get our feelings hurt, we feel rejected, we worry about their salvation.  We believe that the state of their soul is somehow our concern.   Our walks with God are not the joyful, peaceful, blithe and bonnie paths that we have been promised.  Instead of more joy and peace, we have less joy and peace because we are still helpless to change the state of the world and the terrible things that go on in it. 

In paragraph eight of today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that we may ask ourselves what other reaction could we have if we think that this is what salvation looks like?  Why would anyone want to join us?  Why should they?  The ego’s plan of salvation is not just a poor choice as a teacher of salvation, it is insanity itself.  And then Jesus tells us that we already know it is insane.  We know it is insane because it is telling us that we are responsible for what belongs to God.  In the story of the prodigal son, the father didn’t send out the good brother to go save the one that was lost.  The father simply waited for the lost one to come home.  He trusted him to wake up and head home when he was ready.  He did not prepare a torture chamber to punish him, he prepared a feast, a new robe, and a ring for his finger.  There is no mention of even so much as a reprimand.  The kid had learned his lessons the hard way.  Being away from Father and all that was good, decent, and dependable was all the punishment the wayward fellow could take.

This is the gospel of perfect love, peace, and joy and it is free; it is liberal; and it is for everyone.  There is no sin, there is no shame, there is no judgment and no condemnation.  We have merely been put into a deep sleep and mistaken our mad dream for reality. 

The ego’s plan of salvation is on its last leg.  It comes under many guises – some are religious, some are secular, all are lies.  In paragraph nine Jesus tells us that we are to welcome the Last Judgment.  The Last Judgment of the ego is one of fear, wrath, and vengeance.  Nobody wants to be around for that!  But Holy Spirit’s Last Judgment is the awakening to what is truth.  Holy Spirit’s Last Judgement is the one that puts the ego’s plan of salvation to rest forever.  The ego is simply no more because Holy Spirit has judged against it.  Do not put the last judgment in your life off, Jesus urges us.  As long as we believe the ego’s plan of salvation – in whatever form it takes – we are missing out on our eternity. 

At the last judgment, we put down judgment and never take it up again.  We have accepted the innocence of all.  We know now that the ego has held us captive.  It has hoodwinked us.  It has given us roles and done its best to force us to play them in its ridiculous ongoing drama that goes nowhere and amounts to nothing.  As long as we play the role the ego assigns to us, we cannot extend God’s Kingdom which is not a role but our reality and our one true function.

The Second Coming of Christ is not Jesus coming in the clouds and pulling those worthy enough of God’s Kingdom up and out of the evil world before God sends fireballs to destroy it in His fury and anger.  God does not destroy.  God creates..  The Second Coming of Christ is the return to sanity, the return to reality, the restoration of the Sonship.  The Mind of Christ is a state of joy, of peace, of power and unity. There is nothing at all to fear, because if we had something to fear God would not be God and the ego would be. 

Clearly, the fantasies and visions that surround the Last Judgment and the Second Coming are fearful.  But there is no trust in anything fearful for God is not a God of fear, but of love and power and a sane mind.  We will never find love and power and a sane mind in curses and threats, in bloodshed and sacrifice, in suffering and shame and sorrow.  Our only hope is to change our minds about God, about Reality, about Truth, about what makes sense and what makes none. 

If we choose a reality that is fearful, ego is right; if we choose a reality that is love, joy, and peace, God is right. God is right. 

We will not find reality in the world for it is based upon the arrogance and the confusion of the ego. It is a place where nightmares abound.  It is a place where every good thing has an opposite. It is a place that takes our yearning for our Father and turns it into a farce that sacrifices our children to the lusts and desires of those whom it calls holy, threatens and manipulates us, puts us through meaningless rites and rituals all in the name of God.  None of us who come here are immune to its glamor, its lies, it charms, and its deceits.  We, who are Sons of God, it would turn into a delusion of flesh and blood driven by drives and impulses, governed by that which decays. 

Jesus reminds us that fairy tales can be pleasant and they can be gruesome, but we know that they are not true.  Children may believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, they may think that there are good witches who grant wishes and bad witches that eat children – yet when their minds mature, they leave these beliefs behind.  So too must we welcome the return to reality, to sense, to the Second Coming where our minds join with the mind of Christ and makes us one. 

In the last paragraph of this section, Jesus refers to each of us with the tenderness we direct toward children.  Reality is here, He tells us.  Our reality joins us with Christ and with God and with each other.  Nobody is left out.  Nobody is left behind.  Only this awareness heals because we are sick to wish for, to make up, or ever accept a Heaven which does not include our brothers.  Only this awareness heals because there is no sin and no shame.  No longer dreaming the dream of judgment and condemnation, we have Holy Spirit’s plan of forgiveness. It is the only one that works because there is nothing to forgive, because instead of punishment, all things have been corrected and made right.  Thank you, Holy Spirit. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. IV The holy spirit’s plan of forgiveness 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness 1-6

  1. Atonement is for all, because it is the way to undo the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to overlook.  Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not, and you cannot know what you are, because you see him falsely. Remember always that your Identity is shared, and that Its sharing is Its reality.
  2. You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement is beyond you. You do not understand how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to believe either that you do not make them, or that you can correct them without a Guide to correction. And if you do not follow this Guide, your errors will not be corrected. The plan is not yours because of your limited ideas about what you are. This sense of limitation is where all errors arise. The way to undo them, therefore, is not of you, but for you.
  3. The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. By reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this through Him you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as it does. All their harmfulness lies in the ego’s judgment. All their helpfulness lies in the judgment of the Holy Spirit.
  4. The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are asking for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego’s plan, of course, makes no sense and will not work.  By following its plan, you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation, to which the ego always leads you. The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real?  By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to “mysteries,” insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make perfect sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were because they speak of ideas that are eternal.
  5. Forgiveness that is learned of me does not use fear to undo fear. Nor does it make real the unreal and then destroy it. Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are nonexistent. By steadily and consistently canceling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.
  6. Follow the Holy Spirit’s teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness is His function, and He knows how to fulfill it perfectly. That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is. His work is not your function, and unless you accept this you cannot learn what your function is.[1]

The Holy Spirit’s plan of forgiveness is the only one that works.  We do not know how to forgive.  We are only kidding ourselves if we think we can forgive wrongdoing in the flesh.  For what we do to each other in the flesh is imprinted upon our minds and we can go for lifetimes holding grudges and bearing ill will toward each other. 

When Holy Spirit becomes our Teacher we learn the difference between flesh and Spirit.  The flesh has one way of handling things and the Spirit has another.  In the flesh, the ego’s way to practice forgiveness is to make what you did to me very real to me.  I will ruminate upon your rude treatment of me.  I will tell other people about it. I will write about it in my diary.  I will think about it when I am washing the dishes and hanging the clothes.  I will say, “Oh help me to forgive all the ways in which that awful JoJo did me wrong, Lord.”  But as long as what you did to me is real to me, all my prayers, hurt feelings, and plans to get even or teach you a lesson will not take the hurt away.  I am stuck with it.  The more I think about it the bigger it looms in my mind and no matter how I may smile at you, try my best to get over it, I will have a hard spot in my heart toward you.

The Holy Spirit’s plan of forgiveness is to make it apparent to me that what you did to me is simply not real.  Holy Spirit is not of the ego but of God.  To Holy Spirit anything that is not of God is not true, real, or meaningful.  What you did to me in the flesh has no meaning to Holy Spirit.  When I ask Holy Spirit for forgiveness, Holy Spirit forgives for me.  My ego is no longer in charge of forgiving you, Holy Spirit is.  Holy Spirit sets me free of the burden of forgiving you.  Because I am no longer caught up in grievances and grudges and ill-will, I am free to be what God created me to be.  I can love you.  I can enjoy you.  I can appreciate you.  Instead of defining you by a mistake, and defining myself by my judgment of you, we recognize each other as brothers.  God’s love and peace and joy flow through me to you and from you to me. 

In today’s devotional practice, meditate upon the last few sentences in paragraph five:  What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are nonexistent. By steadily and consistently canceling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.  Let these sentences rest upon your mind and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this truth to you.  When we ask Holy Spirit to forgive those who have harmed and wronged us, we are asking for their wrongdoing to be canceled out.  We are asking that they be saved.  We are not asking that they be punished, that they go to hell, that they are shamed and humiliated for what they did to us.  We are asking for grace for them and for us. 

When we ask Holy Spirit for grace to be given to our enemies, we learn that we have no enemies.  The very fact that we want to extend to them the grace given to us, indicates that we recognize their worth.  It is in recognizing their worth, that we are saved.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9: The acceptance of the atonement. IV The holy spirit’s plan of forgiveness 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A Course in Miracles Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

III.  The Correction of Error

  1. The alertness of the ego to the errors of other egos is not the kind of vigilance the Holy Spirit would have you maintain. Egos are critical in terms of the kind of sense they stand for. They understand this kind of sense because it is sensible to them. To the Holy Spirit it makes no sense at all.
  2. To the ego it is kind and right and good to point out errors and correct them. This makes perfect sense to the ego, which is unaware of what errors are and what correction is. Errors are of the ego, and correction of errors lies in the relinquishment of the ego. When you correct a brother, you’re telling him that he is wrong. He may be making no sense at the time, and it is certain that, if he is speaking from the ego, he will not be making sense. But your task is still to tell him he is right. You do not tell him this verbally if he is speaking foolishly. He needs correction at another level because his error is at another level. He is still right because he is a Son of God. His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does.
  3. If you point out the errors of your brother’s ego you must be seeing through yours, because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors. This must be true since there is no communication between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego makes no sense, and the Holy Spirit does not attempt to understand anything that arises from it.  Since He does not understand it, He does not judge it, knowing that nothing the ego makes means anything.
  4. When you react at all to errors, you are not listening to the Holy Spirit. He has merely disregarded them, and if you attend to them you are not hearing Him. If you do not hear Him, you are listening to your ego and making as little sense as a brother whose errors you perceive. This cannot be correction. Yet it is more than merely a lack of correction for him. It is the giving up of correction in yourself.
  5. When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. If you perceive his errors and accept them, you are accepting yours. If you want to give yours over to the Holy Spirit, you must do this with his. Unless this becomes the one way in which you handle all errors, you cannot understand how all errors are undone. How is this different from telling you that what you teach you learn? Your brother is as right as you are, and if you think he is wrong you are condemning yourself.
  6. You cannot correct yourself. Is it possible, then, for you to correct another?  Yet you can see him truly because it is possible for you to see yourself truly. It is not up to you to change your brother, but merely to accept him as he is. His errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours. His errors cannot change this and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you. You will not escape paying the price for this, not because you were being punished for it, but because you are following the wrong guide and will therefore lose your way.
  7. Your brother’s errors are not of him, anymore than yours are of you. Accept his errors as real, and you have attacked yourself. If you would find your way and keep it, see only truth beside you for you walk together. The Holy Spirit in you forgives all things in you and in your brother. His errors are forgiven with yours. Atonement is no more separate than love. Atonement cannot be separate because it comes from love. Any attempt you make to correct a brother means that you believe correction by you is possible, and this can only be the arrogance of the ego. Correction is of God, who does not know of arrogance.
  8. The Holy Spirit forgives everything because God created everything. Do not undertake His function, or you will forget yours. Accept only the function of healing in time because that is what time is for. God gave you the function to create in eternity. You do not need to learn that, but you do need to learn to want it. For that all learning was made. This is the Holy Spirit’s use of an ability that you do not need, but that you made. Give it to him! You do not understand how to use it. He will teach you how to see yourself without condemnation, by learning how to look on everything without it. Condemnation will then not be real to you, and all your errors will be forgiven.[1]

Jesus tells us in today’s text reading that this world is not the place we think it is.  The more we learn about it the more real we make it to ourselves.  The more real we make it to ourselves, the more we are inclined to judge it, to judge our brothers, to think we know best, to find ways to belittle others in order for us to think better of ourselves.  This is the way the ego entraps us in the little, small-minded, low-minded realm of flesh. This is not the path to salvation which is freedom from the ego and return to God and His Kingdom.

Our function in this world is to heal.  To heal means to remember what we really are and what we were created to be as God’s Son.  We were created to be extensions of God, to extend His Kingdom, to create more love, peace, and joy and expand the attributes of God, the Will of God, throughout eternity. Because this is our natural, God-given function, it fills us with joy, purpose, and meaning.  To not do God’s Will is to deny our function. 

We deny our function as God’s Will when we condemn our brothers.  When we think it is our job to correct them, to tell them where they went wrong, to point out their fatal flaws, we are offering the ego’s kind of “help.”  It is the function of Holy Spirit to correct us.  We are called to recognize the Son of God in our brothers regardless of what the ego has wrought in their lives.  We are not to draw attention to what is wrong about them, but to focus on their identity as God’s Son. 

Jesus promises us that when we do this, we are defeating the ego simply by not giving it any credibility.  When we stop judging our brothers, we make room in our minds and hearts to see them as we see ourselves – as worthy Sons of God, as God’s treasures, as God’s Will. 

Accepting the Atonement means that we recognize our function in the world, in time, as one of healing, of returning, learning the value of what we threw away when we separated our awareness from God and His Kingdom.  We are not here to judge the world or get involved in it – we are here to recognize that this is not God’s Kingdom, and we want to go home – together with the complete Sonship of God. 

We are not here to get caught up in any of the blather that substitutes for the real communication of Holy Spirit.  We are not here to go around telling other people how awesome our religion is compared to theirs.  We are here to learn to want to be what we really are as God’s Son.  We are here to grow up to become Him Who has called us because He created us. 

In the last paragraph of today’s reading, Jesus urges us to recognize that we do not know how to correct other people nor ourselves.  We are corrected by Holy Spirit and we are to give all of our learning over to His teaching.  He will teach us everything we need to know when we need to know it.  He will teach us how to see ourselves and each other with no condemnation.  He will teach us that when we no longer believe in sin, in condemnation, in punishment, and dread – it will be washed away from our consciousness and we will have peace.

Having peace is a condition of God’s Kingdom.  We cannot have peace without first removing all that opposes peace.  Today ask Holy Spirit to be your Teacher.  Linger with this text and ask Holy Spirit to reveal its meaning to you in a way that you can apply to your own circumstances and practice in your daily life. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. III The correction of error. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

II. The Answer to Prayer 7-12

7. I love you for the truth in you, as God does. Your deceptions may deceive you, but they cannot deceive me. Knowing what you are, I cannot doubt you. I hear only the Holy Spirit in you, who speaks to me through you. If you would hear me, hear my brothers in whom God’s Voice speaks. The answer to all prayers lies in them.  You will be answered as you hear the answer in everyone. Do not listen to anything else or you will not hear truly.

8. Believe in your brothers because I believe in you, and you will learn that my belief in you is justified. Believe in me by believing in them, for the sake of what God gave them.  They will answer you if you learn to ask only truth of them. Do not ask for blessings without blessing them, for only in this way can you learn how blessed you are. By following this way, you are seeking the truth in you. This is not going beyond yourself but towards yourself. Hear only God’s Answer in His Sons, and you are answered.

9. To disbelieve is to side against, or to attack. To believe is to accept, and to side with.  To believe is not to be credulous, but to accept and appreciate. What you do not believe you do not appreciate, and you cannot be grateful for what you do not value. There is a price you will pay for judgment because judgment is the setting of a price. And as you set it you will pay it.

10. If paying is equated with getting, you will set the price low but demand a high return. You will have forgotten however that to price is to value, so that your return is in proportion to your judgment of worth. If paying is associated with giving it cannot be perceived as loss, and the reciprocal relationship of getting and receiving will be recognized. The price will then be set high, because of the value of the return. The price for getting is to lose sight of value, making it inevitable that you will not value what you receive.  Valuing it little, you will not appreciate it and you will not want it.

11. Never forget, then, that you set the value on what you receive, and price it by what you give. To believe that it is possible to get much for little is to believe that you can bargain with God. God’s laws are always fair and perfectly consistent. By giving you receive. But to receive is to accept, not to get. It is impossible not to have, but it is possible not to know you have. The recognition of having is the willingness for giving, and only by this willingness can you recognize what you have. What you give is there for the value you put on what you have, being the exact measure of the value you put on it. And this, in turn, is the measure of how much you want it.

12. You can ask the Holy Spirit, then, only by giving to Him, and you can give to Him only where you recognize Him. If you recognize Him in everyone, consider how much you will be asking of Him, and how much you will receive. He will deny you nothing because you have denied Him nothing, and so you can share everything. This is the way, and the only way to have His answer, because His answer is all you can ask for and want. Say, then, to everyone:

Because I will to know myself, I see you as God’s Son and my brother.[1]

Jesus loves us for the truth in us.  We are created by God and we have truth established within us.  Lies and illusions about what we are may mess up our sense of identity but lies and deception do not hide the truth about us from Christ.  That is why He does not doubt us because He relates only to the truth in us, to the spirit in us, to that which is holy in us.  Just as He extends His grace to us are we required to extend this grace to our brothers.  We will find the answer to all of our prayers in one another.  Only when we accept what others are communicating to us from Holy Spirit within, can our prayers be answered.  Close ourselves off from our brothers, refuse to listen to them, refuse them the grace that God extends to us through Christ, we will not hear truly.

It is tempting in our walks with God to rely solely on our own guidance.  It is easy to mistake the ego for the Voice for God.  For years I let the ego deceive me thinking that it was protecting me from harm, from being taken advantage of, from making witless decisions about my life.  When people would tell me things, I would not trust them, nor would I make any effort to see beyond my tainted perceptions of what they were saying and hear the truth.  In other words I lost about all faith in people and believed that my hope was not in people but in God.

But Jesus tells us to believe in our brothers because He believes in us.  Just as Jesus saw past all my own self-deceptions, my ridiculous ego, and all my mistakes and wrong decisions – He asks me to extend His grace to you and to all humanity.  To find joy, love, and peace with you.  If I ask only truth from you, that is what you will give me. 

I have had some problems with this.  So many times people simply refuse to tell you the truth.  They will either refuse to acknowledge your worth out of a spirit of enmity and jealousy, or they will refuse to address your areas of improvement.  In other words most people refuse to use their words to tell us what we need to know about ourselves.  However, Jesus tells us that when we learn to ask only truth of others, they will give it to us.  We are again being asked to take full responsibility for our journey to God.  We cannot project this failure to take responsibility upon others by saying, “Well, our brothers didn’t help us.  They didn’t give us good advice, they misled us, they purposefully puffed us up on our own pride and took great pleasure in watching us fall.”  When we learn to give only blessings to our brothers, to communicate only truth to them and ask for truth in return, we are practicing the way of truth, we are learning how to handle the truth, we are not going beyond ourselves by seeking it outward, but rather we are taking the perceptual world and translating its lies and delusions into truth.  We are hearing God’s Answer in His Sons, Jesus says. 

 In paragraph nine, Jesus seems to be telling us to keep open to what we can glean from each other and to accept the truth that is in each one of us.  We are to appreciate our brothers for what they are, we are to be grateful for them.  We can get our answers to prayer through them, whether we agree with them or not.  People have so much to teach us through both positive and negative example. 

If we are too busy judging others and setting a price for truth, for salvation, for the path that leads to God, we are the ones who will have to pay the price.  Thinking of another as having less worth than I do because they do not attend church services, belong to a different denomination, or read a different religious text is setting a price. It is saying that your salvation must look like and be like mine or it isn’t real or deep or has as much meaning.

Only when we adopt the Kingdom principle of giving rather than paying will we recognize the reciprocal relationship of getting and receiving.  We are blessed to give blessings; Jesus extends His Grace to us in the form of trust, and we extend this to our brothers.  We receive to give salvation, not pay for our salvation or put any stipulation or charge upon our brothers.  In other words when I see Jesus in my brothers, as I see the answer to all my prayers in them, the grace I extend to them will not be a business transaction, it will be an extension of what has been given me.  Because I understand the reciprocal relationship of getting and receiving, I would keep giving because I see how valuable it is to me unless I hoard it for only a few and refuse to extend salvation to all.

In paragraph eleven, Jesus tells us that we can never bargain with God. The ego would have us believe that we can get and keep it for ourselves or make others pay for what was given to us freely.  To believe that we can receive God’s Grace and then withhold it from others in our minds, or make stipulations, or keep it only for ourselves and people who believe like we do is not understanding the way things work in God’s Kingdom. 

If my prayer is to lift you out of a state of anxiety and depression, I will extend to you all the love, peace, and joy that is possible because love, peace, and joy mean so much to me and I so appreciate living in the state of abundance that these attributes give me.  I will not judge you for being so sad, so condemning, or for allowing your mind to ruminate upon negativity and ill will.  I will not lecture you on how much you have to be thankful for.  I will not join with you in your complaints about others or the sad state of the world.  Nor will I grumble about you to others or condemn you for needing some extra TLC. I will simply hear the truth behind what you are telling me.  I will give you love, peace, and joy.  I will see your state of anxiety and depression as a call to God no matter how you deny Him, for I know God as Love, and all sadness and depression come from its being hidden from our awareness. 

When I think of you, I will think of you with love, joy, and peace.  When I mention your name, I will mention it with joy and with devotion.  When I do anything for you, it will be my gift to you for love and peace and joy are God’s gifts to me and the more I give to you the more I accept in return.  You may not fully appreciate my love and peace and joy, but love and peace and joy are creations of God.   When I extend God’s gifts to you, they keep extending in every direction with or without your help. 

We make our requests known to Holy Spirit by giving to Him and we give to Him where we recognize Him.  If we make a point to recognize Him in everyone, we are asking of Him and receiving from Him.  When we do not deny Holy Spirit, He will not deny us – we will share in everything.  This is the only way to have His answer to our prayers because His answer is all we can ever ask for and all we can ever want. 

Whenever anyone comes to mind, whenever we encounter anyone anywhere, quietly and with no great show, join with Holy Spirit in their minds and say:  Because I will to know myself, I see you as God’s Son and my brother. 

This is the answer to all our prayers for love, for joy, for peace.  This is the answer to all our prayers for health, healing, and wholeness.  When we recognize our brothers’ truth, we recognize our own. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. II The answer to prayer. 7-12. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

II. The Answer to Prayer 1-6

  1. Everyone whoever tried to use prayer to ask for something has experienced what appears to be failure. This is not only true in connection with specific things that might be harmful, but also in connection with requests that are strictly in line with this course. The latter in particular might be incorrectly interpreted as proof that the course does not mean what it says. You must remember, however, that the course states, and repeatedly, that its purpose is the escape from fear.
  2. Let us suppose, then, that what you ask of the Holy Spirit is what you really want, but you are still afraid of it. Should this be the case, your attainment of it would no longer be what you want. This is why certain specific forms of healing are not achieved, even when the state of healing is. An individual may ask for physical healing because he is fearful of bodily harm. At the same time, if he were healed physically, the threat to his thought system might be considerably more fearful to him than its physical expression. In this case he is not really asking for release from fear, but for the removal of a symptom that he himself selected. This request is, therefore, not for healing at all.
  3. The Bible emphasizes that all prayer is answered, and this is indeed true. The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked anything will ensure a response. Yet it is equally certain that no response given by Him be one that would increase fear. It is possible that His answer will not be heard. It is impossible, however, that it will be lost. There are many answers you have already received but have not yet heard. I assure you that they are waiting for you.
  4. If you would know your prayers are answered, never doubt a Son of God. Do not question him and do not confound him, for your faith in him is your faith in yourself. If you would know God and His answer, believe in me whose faith in you cannot be shaken. Can you ask of the Holy Spirit truly, and doubt your brother? Believe his words are true because of the truth that is in him. You will unite with the truth in him, and his words will be true. As you hear him you will hear me. Listening to truth is the only way you can hear it now, and finally know it.
  5. The message your brother gives you is up to you. What does he say to you? What would you have him say? Your decision about him determines the message you receive. Remember that the Holy Spirit is in him, and His Voice speaks to you through him. What can so holy a brother tell you except truth? But are you listening to it? Your brother may not know who he is, but there is a light in his mind that does know. This light can shine into yours, giving truth to his words and making you able to hear them.  His words are the Holy Spirit’s answer to you. Is your faith in him strong enough to let you hear?
  6. You can no more pray for yourself alone then you can find joy for yourself alone. Prayer is the restatement of inclusion, directed by the Holy Spirit under the laws of God. Salvation is of your brother. The Holy Spirit extends from your mind to his and answers you. You cannot hear the voice for God in yourself alone because you are not alone. And his answer is only for what you are. You will not know the trust I have in you unless you extend it.  You will not trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit or believe that it is for you unless you hear it in others. It must be for your brother because it is for you. Would God have created a voice for you alone? Could you hear His answer except as He answers all of God’s Sons?  Hear of your brother what you would have me hear of you, for you would not want me to be deceived. [1]

The purpose of this Course is the escape from fear.  We do not escape from fear by having all of our prayers answered because many of our prayers are based upon our ego’s need for specialness.  Several years ago, a coworker announced at the lunch break table that she enjoyed a very special relationship with God.  God answered every single one of her prayers, she claimed.   Me and the rest of the group were more than a little taken aback because for as long as we knew her she had been and continued to be swamped in ongoing health, money, and relationship woes.  Nearly every encounter with Karen revolved around her complaints about her unhappy marriage, uncontrolled spending, kids in and out of jail and rehab, and the rare and mysterious maladies that had no known cure that plagued her family.  While Karen is a lovely woman completely undeserving of all that had befallen her, she did not seem to be a sterling example of someone who had an in with God! 

Using Karen as an example, let’s look at paragraph two.  Karen asks the Lord for a faithful husband, healing from an ongoing assortment of physical ailments, and for her grown children to take responsibility for their lives and stop draining her finances.  How could she be afraid of what she wants?  Isn’t this what everyone wants? 

Only if Karen does not feel worthy of a faithful doting husband, good health, and self-supporting, responsible grown children could we agree that Karen’s prayers are always answered in the form that makes her most comfortable and adheres with her thought system.  When she claims to have a special relationship with a God Who answers all her prayers she may very well be asking for exactly what she is most comfortable in having. Karen wants specialness.  As long as Karen’s husband and kids are not so special, she gets to be special.  She is the one that endures them for God.  This goes along with a religious belief system that sacrifices love, peace, and joy for a sense of duty, fear of God, and suffering.

Jesus claims that all prayer is answered – ask and it will be given.  No request is ever lost.  There are three seeming qualifications, however.  We will be given nothing that makes us afraid.  We may not hear the response to our prayer.  We may have received the answer, but it is on hold until we are ready for it.

As I looked at paragraph four today and asked the Lord to show me what it meant, I thought of Karen and her constant complaints about her cheating husband, her bad kids, her failing health.  I thought of my own prayers and the seeming lack of response from God in a few areas.  If we are to receive what we pray for, we are to remove all doubt from our mind about ourselves and each other.  We are to believe in Jesus who has complete and unshaken faith in us.  We cannot ask anything of Holy Spirit if we have doubt about those we pray for.  When we ask for fidelity from those who have been unfaithful, we are to believe he is capable of faithfulness, even though all we have known of him says otherwise.  When we pray for God to heal our finances, we must believe that we are worthy of abundance, that we will know the difference between wants and needs, that we will not spend money that we do not have.  When we pray for health and healing, we are to believe we are worthy of healing, that we are able to adopt healthful practices and avoid that which promotes illness and disease.  We are to believe in what our healers, medical or otherwise, prescribe to us with no doubt or fear.  When we pray for our children to be decent, upright, and good, we are to have no doubts in their abilities and efforts put forth in that direction.

In other words we are to put our minds toward what we ask of Holy Spirit.  We are to cooperate with what we ask God for.  When I ask for a faithful partner, I do not ruminate upon his past flings and try to garner sympathy or tarnish his name by sharing his weaknesses in this particular area with everybody I know.  I believe in his strength, I believe in his love, I believe in his truth.  When I unite with the truth in my partner, what he says will be true.  As I hear him, I will hear Jesus.  Listening to truth is the only way we can hear it in the realm of perception and finally know it.  We find the answer to every request in recognizing the truth in one another.  We cannot ask the Holy Spirit truly and turn around to doubt His response in our brother. 

In paragraph five, Jesus gives us more information on how our fellows play a part in our own healing and the healing of the world.  Here we are compelled to take responsibility for what our brothers tell us – what they tell us in their words, deeds, and attitudes toward us.  In the world, we do not take responsibility for what our brothers tell us.  We take what they say and do and react to our perception of what they are saying and doing.  When our mates go astray, we say that they have disrespected us, that they do not find us worthy of faithfulness, that we are not exciting or attractive to them anymore.  We grow sad and angry. 

In the case of Karen she was a lot of both.  Incensed, she would stalk her husband’s girlfriends, telling their husbands or boyfriends what they were up to, blasting them on Facebook, and making public their indiscretions.  She was proud of her vengeance, her cleverness at sleuthing out the hurtful escapades, and the stunts she pulled on the adulterers.  She was also sad, often unable to work in her grief, seeking sympathy from her co-workers and friends who assured her how beautiful and shapely she was and how easy it would be for her to find another man.  The same story was repeated with her kids, health, and money woes.  No matter what anyone suggested to her in the way of help, she claimed that it was all in God’s hands and she could count on Him.   But it was not in God’s hands because instead of creating love, peace, and joy she seemed to draw out the worst in all of us. 

When Karen was around, people were afraid to talk about the fun times they had with their mates and kids, their good health, engagements, and the new things they bought or vacations they planned because she would make snide remarks, warn them against marriage, relate gory childbirth stories to those who were expecting, and claim she could not remember the last time she had a break.

While I grew as weary as everyone else with Karen’s ongoing melodrama, I did a few things right in that I continued to talk about the good things in my life whether she liked it or not.  I pointed out that just because I had absolutely nothing to complain about, did not mean that I did not have a right to share my joy.  Sharing joy gives other people the “permission” to share joy.  When we begin to share joy with one another, we tap into the light in our minds that recognizes our blessings and makes them known.  We get off the downward spiral of only seeing the negative.  Simply by refusing to join in the clubby, cliquish martyr club and speaking of that which fills us with joy and gratitude is a way to let the light in an otherwise dark and dire situation. 

Sharing my joy with Karen and refusing to join in the pity-poor-Karen group was the best thing that I could have done at that time.  My decision about Karen determined the message that I received from her.  I did not believe the bad report that God was in any responsible for her suffering or that she had a special relationship with God, but I did believe that the answer to her prayer was waiting for her to recognize it and accept it.  Going through this period with Karen and her public airings of grievances and hardships, was a good opportunity for me to recognize the more private and subconscious ways in which I was hindering the answers to my own prayers for spiritual growth, for overcoming antagonism toward those who disappoint and offend me, and other seemingly wrong-minded conceptions and practices that caused my mind to build cases rather than extend God’s Kingdom. 

Instead of a person I remember with a sense of dread, I now remember Karen as part of the Sonship, as an equal teacher and student on our path to God.  We are here to remind each other what we really are, for only when we recognize ourselves in each other can we receive the answer to our prayers.  At the end of paragraph five Jesus assures us that what we learn from our brother is the answer we get to our prayers. 

This is a wonderful message.  My prayer is that it rings true in our hearts and minds and we are motivated to be open to ways to put this into practice.  It is all too easy to pinpoint the personal failings, spiritual dim-wittedness, and shortcomings of others, but until we realize that our brothers are telling us the truth about us, can we remove the obstructions that are hindering us from recognizing Holy Spirit’s answer to our prayer. 

The very nature of prayer is one of inclusion.  There is no room for any ideas of specialness for Holy Spirit operates under the unified and equal laws of God.  We find our salvation in our brothers and it is of utmost importance that we accept the salvation of all.  Only when we see our brother as saved, can we be saved.  We cannot use our salvation, our belief system, our holy practices as a way to divide the Sonship – only to extend it.  When we think we have a special relationship with God and we make monsters of those who are weak, who falter, who fail to live up to their promise, we are not extending God’s Kingdom, we are denying ourselves opportunities for practicing our salvation, for learning what we need to learn about our own need for complete freedom from the perceptual world.  Believing in the name of Jesus is a trite interpretation of the gospel but practicing the mind of Christ is the salvation of the world for it eradicates all that is false and untrue and lets in the light that frees us from division and death to our true union with God. 

We cannot learn to trust the guidance of Holy Spirit until we learn to lay down our defenses against our brothers and trust in the equal and just Voice for God in each and every one of us.  God would not give me a holy spirit and give you, my brother, that which is not holy.  Our function then is to recognize Holy Spirit within everybody and relate to that and only that.  

We will end today’s blog with paragraph six and complete this section in the next post.  Today ask God to illuminate your mind so that you can grasp the meaning of this section.  We may have resistance to these concepts because the world would tell us that we do not find salvation or truth in our brothers, but only in the name of Jesus.  However Jesus tells us to see beyond the perceptions of our flesh eyes and listen and hear what our brothers are really asking of us and telling us.  Just as we depend upon Jesus to look past our own misconceptions and give us what we truly want and need, so are we to relate only to the truth in others.     

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. II The answer to prayer 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

I. The Acceptance of Reality 8-14

8. No right mind can believe that its will is stronger than God’s. If then, our mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that God’s Will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr, who believes that God demands sacrifices.  Either of these insane decisions will induce panic because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. Yet no one really wants either abandonment or retaliation, even though many may see both. Can you ask the Holy Spirit for gifts such as these, and actually expect to receive them? He cannot give you something you do not want. When you ask the Universal Giver for what you do not want, you’re asking for what cannot be given.  It was never created. It was never created because it was never your will for you.

9. Ultimately everyone must remember the will of God, because ultimately everyone must recognize himself. This recognition is the recognition that his will and God’s are one. In the presence of truth, there are no unbelievers and no sacrifices. In the security of reality, fear is totally meaningless. To deny what is can only seem to be fearful. Fear cannot be real without a cause, and God is the only Cause. God is love and you do want Him. This is your will. Ask for this and you will be answered, because you will be asking only for what belongs to you.

10. When you ask the Holy Spirit for what would hurt you He cannot answer because nothing can hurt you, and so you are asking for nothing. Any wish that stems from the ego is a wish for nothing, and to ask for it is not a request. It is merely a denial in the form of a request. The spirit is not concerned with form, being aware only of meaning. The ego cannot ask the Holy Spirit for anything because there is complete communication failure between them. Yet you can ask for everything of the Holy Spirit because your requests to Him are real, being of your right mind. Would the Holy Spirit deny the will of God? And could He fail to recognize it in His son?

11. You do not recognize the enormous waste of energy you expend in denying truth. What would you say of someone who persists in attempting the impossible, believing that to achieve it is to succeed? The belief that you must have the impossible in order to be happy is totally at variance with the principle of creation. God could not will that happiness depended on what you could never have.  The fact that God is love does not require belief, but it does require acceptance.  It is indeed possible for you to deny facts, although it is impossible for you to change them. If you hold your hands over your eyes, you will not see because you are interfering with the laws of seeing. If you deny love, you will not know it because your cooperation is the law of its being. You cannot change laws you did not make, and the laws of happiness were created for you, not by you.

12. Any attempt to deny what is must be fearful, and if the attempt is strong it will induce panic. Willing against reality, though impossible, can be made into a very persistent goal even though you do not want it. But consider the result of this strange decision. You are devoting your mind to what you do not want. How real can this devotion be? If you do not want it, it was never created. If it were never created, it is nothing. Can you really devote yourself to nothing?

13. God in His devotion to you created you devoted to everything and gave you what you are devoted to. Otherwise you would not have been created perfect. Reality is everything, and you have everything because you are real. You cannot make the unreal because the absence of reality is fearful, and fear cannot be created. As long as you believe that fear is possible, you will not create. Opposing orders of reality make reality meaningless, and reality is meaning.

14. Remember, then, that God’s will is already possible, and nothing else will ever be. This is the simple acceptance of reality, because only that is real. You cannot distort reality and know what it is. And if you do distort reality you will experience anxiety, depression, and ultimately panic, because you are trying to make yourself unreal. When you feel these things, do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you. Say therefore:

Christ is in me. And where He is God must be, for Christ is part of Him.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that we can believe truth, or we can believe in that which is not true.  If I am God’s Will, I can either believe God’s Wills for me to exist and is therefore keenly interested in and devoted to me, or I can believe there is no God, that I am alone in the Universe, that the only sustenance I have is at the mercy of fickle fate, fickle humans, and an even more fickle universe.  Or I can choose another untrue belief system in that there is a God, but He is angry with me because I made mistakes, because I had a mind of my own (which He gave me no less), because He isn’t happy unless He is in a rage about something, and I must make up to him for all the ways in which I have failed Him.  I will believe that God’s Will and my will go in two opposing directions, and so I must sacrifice my will to please God because I am bad and only He is good, I am dirty and He is clean, I am wicked, and God is pure.  

I will therefore martyr myself to please this God – because God is only happy if I am giving up something I like and enjoy proving to Him how much I love Him.  Nobody really wants a God who would abandon them or make them sacrifice things they want and enjoy in order to placate Him.  But that is the way in which we have twisted the truth of God and have been afraid to examine our religious doctrines, texts, and teachings. 

If we suffer from a sense of abandonment or retaliation from God, these are not the gifts of Holy Spirit.  We are not accepting the reality that we are God’s Will and that God’s Will is our happiness.  We have somehow accepted a warped idea that God’s Will is separate from us and that we have to sacrifice what we really want in order to have His Will in our lives.  As long as we view that laying aside all thoughts of death, disease, and devastation is a sacrifice, we will need salvation from an upside down conception of God.  

If we think we want the gifts of the ego, we are asking for that which does not really exist, we are asking for that which is not only a waste of time but that which time wastes.  God only gives gifts that create the everlasting, and Jesus tells us that because God created us like Him, this is the only gifts that bring us joy and have any meaning to us. 

We will all come to understand this about ourselves sooner or later.  No matter how caught up we may be in the physical world, no matter how our heart races at the thought of a new sexual conquest, a new car, a bigger house, a diamond ring, a trip here or a trip there – what we really want, what really fills us with joy and a sense of purpose and meaning is God’s Will – that love, joy, peace and all meaning reside in our Being.  That our reality is not external but internal.  When we recognize this truth, and we all will sooner or later, there can be no unbelievers, there can be no sense of sacrifice for there is nothing to give up, there can be no fear for reality is secure, it is certain, it is benevolent and all that we truly yearn for and were created for.  As hard as it may be to imagine in the realm that is not God’s Kingdom, fear is meaningless. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph nine that fear cannot be real without a cause.  And because God is the only Cause, and God is love, joy, and peace and all the other wonderful attributes that we want for ourselves and for others, God’s Will is our will.  Gone from our consciousness is the crazy-making idea that God created us to abandon us, to turn His back upon us, to test us and prove us and then punish us forever for having a mind of our own, for making a mistake, for tasting something that He made to look enticing and then forbid us to eat.  Gone from our consciousness is the equally crazy-making idea that God Who is Everything would require blood and the suffering of our bodies in order to appease His wrath.  Sin does not have to be punished; mistakes merely need correction. When we change our minds about the fear of God and choose to perceive God as love, as our meaning, as our joy all fear is gone. 

When we ask Holy Spirit for anything less than the attributes of God, we get nothing for nothing is what we asked for.  The nothingness of the ego and its wishes for more nothingness would lay waste the Sons of God.  Any wish that stems from the ego is a form of nothingness and Holy Spirit is not concerned with nothingness.  Ask for vengeance upon your enemies cloaked in the guise of teaching them a good lesson, and you are asking for vengeance upon yourself.  Prayers that reflect that we are different, better, and godlier than our brothers are prayed, not in the language of mutuality and oneness, but in a language that Holy Spirit does not understand.  Jesus calls this a complete communication failure. 

Yet we can ask everything from Holy Spirit when we pray with our right minds and in the language of oneness for we know what we are as God’s Will.  We will not ask for fame, fortune, and favor – for these prayers are answered by that which would drive us to waste our time pursuing that which does not lead to God’s Kingdom.  We will ask of God the things of God, for we are His Will, and our will is to extend His Kingdom. 

When we worry and fret over the things of the world, we waste time.  Wasting our time, stresses our minds because we are denying truth.  God is love.  This is not something we must believe; it is something we must accept to know truth.  Deny this, continue to uphold fearful conceptions of God, and we keep future generations trapped in a belief system that recycles that which brings enmity and division rather than mutuality of love.  Love is not a rapist, a stalker, a hound from hell; nor is it a game player who holds out and makes the other party work for it, pay for it, sacrifice to it.  Love’s law is one of mutuality, reciprocation, and converging on the same level.  Believe what you want about God, about His laws, but His laws were created to bring us joy, they were created for us, not by us. 

As long as we deny this reality, twist it into something else, make it a burden and a sacrifice, we will be afraid; our minds will not fare well.  Choose to believe that which is not true about God, we work very hard for something we do not really want.  If we do not want something, if our minds are not joyful and at peace, if our minds are not loving, benevolent, strong and invincible – if we are a bunch of whiners and complainers getting ourselves worked up into a tizzy over our relationships, our jobs, the political front, the this and that that of the world and its constant calls for taking up arms, how can we really be devoted to a God that would make us feel so small, fearful, and vulnerable?  If we do not want to be small, fearful, and vulnerable, this is not creation.  If this is not creation, it is fabrication.  It will waste in time and it is a waste of time.  Can we really devote ourselves to that?  Should we devote ourselves to that? 

Our religious traditions play so much a part in our sense of belonging, our relationships with family, friends, and the larger community, but if we are being taught wrongful, harmful doctrines that deny truth, our devotion will not be real.  It will require enormous expenditures of energy to devote ourselves to anything less than love, for Love is the Source of our Being; Love is our Being.  Serving God instead of loving God makes of our spiritual path, a duty to perform. Accepting a God that makes us feel ashamed, belittled, or at a disadvantage is not a joy, but a burden.  The fault does not lie with us, but in the doctrines and myths of those with only a dim understanding of God and His Kingdom. 

God’s devotion created us to be devoted to all things; He gave us what we are devoted to. This is our perfection, this is our reality, this is what we are and what makes us tick.  We do not fare well on that which is not loving, joyful, and peaceful, because love, joy, and peace are God’s Will.  Without God’s Will, we are afraid, we are unhappy, we are ashamed.  Accept fear, joylessness, and shame as our reality, we cannot extend love, joy, and peace.  When we do not extend love, joy, and peace our reality is meaningless to us because our lives have no meaning.  As long as we are busy building cases against each other, taking up arms, plotting and scheming vengeance, blaming each other for the woes of the world, it is impossible for us to create for we are opposing the love, peace, and joy we were meant to create with one another.  We are keeping ourselves in a state of nothingness.

For there is nothing outside the Will of God.  All else is wasted in time and by time – it is a distortion of reality.  Because it is built on that which is not God, it only follows that we will do hideous things to each other and to ourselves.  We will experience anxiety, depression, and ultimate panic because we are trying to take something which is created by and for Love and do something that opposes love.  No matter how close we get to the truth in a kingdom that is not God’s, we remain asleep in a dream because it is not reality.  The dream will scare us because it would keep us asleep forever, obscuring that which is real in our subconscious with a constant stream of fear, fable, and dismal forecasts.  We cannot escape this dream on our own.  Jesus entered the delusion to set us free from it. He suffered the same temptations, the ill will, the vengeance, the lies. He suffered extreme pain, humiliation, and death of the body on the cross. He resurrected to awaken us to our true identity, and it is through Him we are saved.

In your devotional practice and throughout the day, no matter how troubled and conflicted the outside world appears to be, practice the acceptance of your reality in Christ.  Do not look to the world for truth, for it is not in the world, it is in you, for Jesus abides in you and where He is, God is.      

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. I The acceptance of reality 8-14. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 9 The Acceptance of the Atonement

I. The Acceptance of Reality

  1. Fear of the Will of God is one of the strangest beliefs the human mind has ever made. It could not possibly have occurred unless the mind were already profoundly split, making it possible for it to be afraid of what it really is. Reality cannot threaten anything except illusions since reality can only uphold truth. The very fact that the will of God, which is what you are, is perceived as fearful, demonstrates that you are afraid of what you are. It is not, then, the Will of God of which you are afraid, but yours.
  2. Your will is not the ego’s, and that is why the ego is against you. What seems to be the fear of God is really the fear of your own reality. It is impossible to learn anything consistently in a state of panic. If the purpose of this course is to help you remember what you are, and if you believe that what you are is fearful, then it must follow that you will not learn this course. Yet the reason for the course is that you do not know what you are.
  3. If you do not know what your reality is, why would you be so sure that it is fearful? The association of truth and fear, which would be highly artificial at most, is particularly inappropriate in the minds of those who do not know what the truth is. All this could mean is that you are arbitrarily associating something beyond your awareness with something you do not want. It is evident, then, that you are judging something of which you are totally unaware. You have set up this strange situation so that it is impossible to escape from it without a Guide Who does know what your reality is. The purpose of this guide is merely to remind you of what you want. He is not attempting to force an alien will upon you. He is merely making every possible effort, within the limits you impose on Him, to re-establish your own will in your awareness.
  4. You have imprisoned your will beyond your own awareness where it remains but cannot help you.  When I said that the Holy Spirit’s function is to sort out the true from the false in your mind, I meant that He has the power to look into what you have hidden and recognize the Will of God there.  His recognition of this Will can make it real to you because He is in your mind, and therefore He is your reality.  If then, His perception of your mind brings its reality to you, He is helping you to remember what you are.  The only source of fear in this process is what you think you will lose.  Yet it is only what the Holy Spirit sees that you can possibly have.
  5. I have emphasized many times that the Holy Spirit will never call upon you to sacrifice anything. But if you ask the sacrifice of reality of yourself, the Holy Spirit must remind you that this is not God’s Will because it is not yours. There is no difference between your will and God’s. If you did not have a split mind, you would recognize that willing is salvation because it’s communication.
  6. It is impossible to communicate in alien tongues. You and your Creator can communicate through creation because that, and only that is your joint will. A divided mind cannot communicate because it speaks for different things to the same mind. This loses the ability to communicate simply because confused communication does not mean anything. A message cannot be communicated unless it makes sense. How sensible can your messages be when you ask for what you do not want? Yet as long as you were afraid of your will, that is precisely what you are asking for.
  7. You may insist that the Holy Spirit does not answer you, but it might be wiser to consider the kind of questioner you are. You do not ask only for what you want. This is because you are afraid you might receive it, and you would. This is why you persist in asking the teacher who could not possibly give you what you want. Of him you can never learn what it is, and this gives you the illusion of safety. Yet you cannot be safe from truth, but only in truth. Reality is the only safety. Your will is your salvation because it is the same as God’s. The separation is nothing more than the belief that it is different.[1]

There is absolutely no reason to fear the Will of God, for we are the Will of God. You and me, Will of God.  Chances are pretty good that we are not afraid of ourselves – I am a pretty nice person.  All I really want is what you really want – to be loved and cherished, to love and cherish, to have goodness in my life, to extend goodness to others.  I have no real desire to crush the life out of anything or anybody.  I have no real desire to be the biggest or the best, the richest or the most powerful – as long as I have what I need from day-to-day, I am happy, well-adjusted, and harmless.  And I can assume that this is you.  This is God’s Will.  You and me, harmless and happy and well-adjusted. 

The only thing that our harmlessness, our happiness, our well-being can threaten is the illusion that God’s Will is for us to suffer, be sorrowful, ashamed, and prey upon others who do not believe like us, think like us, look like us, or sacrifice as much as we do to please God.  If we are looking to God’s Will as something that takes away our joy, that makes us miserable, that makes us a pest or a danger or a torment to ourselves or others in any way – we must examine our own belief system.  It is not God’s Will that we are afraid of, it is the lies we believe about ourselves and God which must be examined. 

My will and your will does not belong to the ego and that is why our ego is not, cannot be a trustworthy guide.  When we fear God, what we are really afraid of is our own reality for the ego has made us out to be very small-minded, vulnerable, blinded to our blessings, and prone to vengeance, grudges, and condemnation. 

The logic of paragraph three makes so much sense to me.  Why do we resist the teachings of reality, why does it seem too hard, too high-minded, too spiritually lofty for us to attain?  What are we afraid of?  What is there about truth that makes us afraid?  What is it about being called to offer love to others that makes us balk?  Why are we so hesitant to believe that God is harmless and that we are His Will? 

The purpose of A Course in Miracles is to help us remember who we really are.  If we believe that what we are is world-weary, disinclined to goodness, predisposed to evil, mockery, scorn, and spite – we will not learn what we need to learn from this Course.  And yet we would not study the Course to find out what we really are unless we had doubts about the ego version of ourselves!   

We should study this Course with criticism.  We should not blindly believe something just because a woman back in the 1960s and 1970s claimed that Jesus channeled this Course, any more than we should automatically believe other texts and books labeled holy.  We must learn to question, practice, and put to practical application if we are to build our trust in any belief system.  They must “hold water,” or what is the point of having them? 

Certainly to get anything at all out of any course of study, we must put aside our disbelief, our doubts, our uncertainty enough to take the time, make the effort, and give the teacher a chance to get his points across.  We cannot learn when we come prepared to disagree, be argumentative, or disruptive.  In our Course study groups, we do not accept members who do not have prior knowledge and some experience and understanding of the Course simply because we are joining to study and apply, and not to argue its authenticity. 

However if we cannot apply what we learn to our day-to-day lives, if we put forth our best effort and still find the concepts of the Course somehow out of our grasp, the fault does not necessarily lie with us.  To teach that we are at fault would lead us into a dangerous practice of shame, self-criticism, and defeat which is not the aim of the Course.  It may simply not be the right time in one’s life to study the Course.  It may be that the Course itself is not what it says it is – we must always be open to that conclusion.  However, for those who wish to sincerely learn what A Course in Miracles teaches, while we study the Course, we come with open minds. We assume that Dr. Helen Schucman did not make this up, that it was truly the Voice of Jesus who dictated the Course to her, and that the Foundation for Inner Peace and The Circle of Atonement did their best to keep the books we have today as close to the original dictation as possible. 

That said, in sentence three of paragraph three, Jesus points out there is something beyond our awareness that is illogically associating with something we do not want.  Speaking for my own self, my biggest fear is that I will seek God and find God and then find that God is going to enslave me against my will and make me live in this big commune in the sky where I have to share everything I have with everybody else, and that I won’t have any time or space of my own and that I will be rubbing shoulders with all the people that get on my last nerve here on earth throughout eternity.  Because I love solitude, because I love my little private spaces, because I adore peace and quiet and uninterrupted time, God’s Will sometimes scares me until I remember what I have learned in this Course about God’s Will. I am God’s Will.  God’s Will is love and peace and joy; God’s Will is my happiness.  But no matter how much I study this Course, no matter how many times I experience the holy instants of bliss and love, there are times that I forget that I am God’s Will.

Jesus assures me – there is no alien will that is forced upon me, in fact the alien will that has been enforced upon me is not of God at all, but from this other thing that comes with the territory that is not God’s Kingdom!  And then Jesus says in sentence eight of the same paragraph:  Holy Spirit is making every possible effort, within the limits you have imposed on Him, to re-establish your own will in your awareness. 

Years ago I was trying to coax an orphaned duckling to get in the water.  I knew that the little drake would love the water.  He was created for water.  Once the little guy got into the water he would find his rightful meaning and joy. But he was so afraid that I was at first unable to teach him what he was.  He had no idea of what he really was because he had spent so much time with me, with my husband and grandkids.  He followed me around in the yard and quacked at the door when I went in the house.  But every time I tried to put him in the water, he would waddle away, and flap his vestigial wings, squawking and carrying on like I was trying to drown him.  Finally, he learned to trust me enough to let me put him in the water and paddle his webbed feet whilst I supported him, and it was not too long before he had found his joy and delight with no more encouragement from me!

Holy Spirit reminded me of Little Duck as I read today’s text.  Holy Spirit does not coerce, force, attack, or ridicule us – Holy Spirit is the calm, quiet, inner voice that is born in us all, leading us by and to love, goodness, and uprightness.  We all have Holy Spirit whether we listen to Him or not, whether we believe it is Holy or not – it just is.  It is very distinguishable from the ego, which is not holy and is not spirit.  As we learn to listen to Holy Spirit, to trust Him, to know Him, we will remove the fearful obstructions that keep us from knowing what we are as God’s Will. 

We have imprisoned God’s Will in our subconscious where it remains but cannot help us.  Holy Spirit knows our subconscious.  He knows what we have hidden there.  He knows what is true about us and what is false about us, and He has the power to look beyond what we think we are and recognize God’s Will.  Because He recognizes it, He will make our Selves real to us, because He is not only in our mind, Holy Spirit is our reality.  The reason we are afraid is because what we think we might have to give up, what we think Holy Spirit will make of us, what changes Holy Spirit will wrought in us.  But it is only Holy Spirit that perceives everything we truly are. We can forget all weird things we have learned about Holy Spirit, all the special intonations that preachers and priests use to signify how unworthy we are before His presence.  We are worthy of Holy Spirit for that is what we are.  We are not what the ego has made us out to be, we are not flesh and blood, we are holy, and we are spirit and God loves us as His Son.   

We do not sacrifice anything for Holy Spirit, for God’s Will, for God’s Son, because there is no difference between what we are and what Holy Spirit, God’s Will, and God’s Son is – and if we had not listened to the ego’s lies and temptations, if we had not split our minds between truth and delusion, we would recognize that salvation lies in accepting ourselves as God’s Will because it is the communication of love, not the excommunication of condemnation, sacrifice, suffering, and separation. 

Jesus tells us that it is impossible to communicate in alien tongues. To communicate love, peace, and joy is to create more love, peace, and joy.  We can only do this when we speak the same language as those we create with and for.  Confused communication means nothing because it makes no sense to us. When we do not accept that we are God’s Will, if we are afraid of this message, we will seek God’s Will from ecstatic spiritual experiences, we will try to find it in sacred texts, we will depend upon our spiritual leaders to tell us what it is. When we do not recognize ourselves as God’s Will, we will be tempted to think that we are out of God’s Will when we are not off to the mission field winning souls for Christ. We will not recognize that our worth is in Being. 

We will close with paragraph seven today and finish this section in tomorrow’s post.  Take a good look at paragraph seven and let it rest upon your mind with joy, with a sense of fun, with a sense of overall good cheer.  If we feel as if Holy Spirit is not answering our questions, giving us what we want, is letting us down, and feeling a bit overwhelmed with all that we are learning – think about what kind of questioner we are.  What are we really asking for?  Is it what we really want?  If we truly want all the lovely attributes of God, why are we seeking it from the ego?  Why are we relying on our judgments, our little digs about others, our doubts and uncertainties, our feelings of inferiority and superiority, the pieces of gossip we exchange to give us what we can never get from that source?  If we are afraid of the harmlessness and loveliness of God and His Will, we may feel safe in our illusions of safety – but Reality is our only safety.  Being God’s Will is our salvation.  Extending love, joy, and peace and all the other beautiful fruits of Holy Spirit is our Being, is God’s Will, is, dear brothers, what we are all about.  The separation is nothing more than the belief that we are something different. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9 The acceptance of the atonement. I. The acceptance of reality. 1-7. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 The Journey Back

IX: Healing as Corrected Perception

  1. I said before that the Holy Spirit is the Answer.  He is the Answer to everything because He knows what the answer to everything is.  The ego does not know what a real question is, although it asks an endless number.  Yet you can learn this as you learn to question the value of the ego, and thus establish your ability to evaluate its questions.  When the ego tempts you to sickness, do not ask the Holy Spirit to heal the body, for this would merely be to accept the ego’s belief that the body is the proper aim of healing.  Ask, rather, that the Holy Spirit teach you the right perception of the body, for perception alone can be distorted.  Only perception can be sick because only perception can be wrong.
  2. Wrong perception is the wish that things be as they are not.  The reality of everything is totally harmless because total harmlessness is the condition of its reality.  It is also the condition of your awareness of its reality.  You do not have to seek reality.  It will seek you and find you when you meet its conditions.  Its conditions are part of what it is.  And this part only is up to you.  The rest is of itself.  You need do so little because our little part is so powerful that it will bring the whole to you.  Accept, then, your little part, and let the whole be yours. 
  3. Wholeness heals because it is of the mind.  All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening.  They are attempts to reinforce sleeping out of fear of waking.  This is a pathetic way of trying not to see by rendering the faculties for seeing ineffectual.  “Rest in peace” is a blessing for the living, not the dead, because rest comes from waking, not from sleeping.  Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining.  Dreams are illusions of joining because they reflect the ego’s distorted notions about what joining is.  Yet the Holy Spirit, too, has use for sleep, and can use dreams on behalf of waking if you will let Him.
  4. How you wake is the sign of how you have used sleep.  To whom did you give it?  Under which teacher did you place it?  Whenever you wake dispiritedly, it was not given to the Holy Spirit.  Only when you waken joyously have you utilized sleep according to His purpose.  You can indeed be “drugged” by sleep if you have misused it on behalf of sickness.  Sleep is no more a form of death than death is a form of unconsciousness.  Complete unconsciousness is impossible.  You can rest in peace only because you are awake.
  5. Healing is release from the fear of waking and the substitution of the decision to wake.  The decision to wake is the reflection of the will to love since all healing involves replacing fear with love.  The Holy Spirit cannot distinguish among degrees of error, for if He taught that one form of sickness is more serious than another, He would be teaching that one error can be more real than another.  His function is to distinguish only between the false and the true, replacing the false with the true.    
  6. The ego, which always wants to weaken the mind, tries to separate it from the body in an attempt to destroy it.  Yet the ego actually believes that it is protecting it.  This is because the ego believes that mind is dangerous, and that to make mindless is to heal.  But to make mindless is impossible, since it would mean to make nothing out of what God created.  The ego despises weakness, even though it makes every effort to induce it.  The ego wants only what it hates.  To the ego this is perfectly sensible.  Believing in the power of attack, the ego wants attack.
  7. The Bible enjoins you to be perfect, to heal all errors, to take no thought of the body as separate and to accomplish all things in my name.  This is not my name alone, for ours is a shared identification.  The Name of God’s Son is one, and you are enjoined to do the works of love because we share this oneness.  Our minds are whole because they are one.  If you are sick you are withdrawing from me.  Yet you cannot withdraw from me alone.  You can only withdraw from yourself and me.
  8. You have surely begun to realize that this is a very practical course, and one that means exactly what it says.  I would not ask you to do things you cannot do, and it is impossible that I could do things you cannot do.  Given this, and given this quite literally, nothing can prevent you from doing exactly what I ask, and everything argues for your doing it.  I give you no limits because God lays none upon you.  When you limit yourself, we are not of one mind, and that is sickness.  Yet sickness is not of the body, but of the mind.  All forms of sickness are signs that the mind is split and does not accept a unified purpose.
  9. The unification of purpose, then, is the Holy Spirit’s only way of healing.  This is because it is the only level at which healing means anything.  The re-establishing of meaning in a chaotic thought system is the way to heal it.  Your task is only to meet the conditions for meaning, since meaning itself is of God.  Yet your return to meaning is essential to Him because your meaning is part of His.  Your healing, then, is part of His health since it is part of His Wholeness.  He cannot lose this, but you can not know it.  Yet it is still His Will for you, and His Will must stand forever and in all things. 1

In our reading today, Jesus reminds us that Holy Spirit is the Answer to everything.  Holy Spirit has all knowledge and the answer to every question there is.  As we learn to distinguish between the Voice for God and the clamors of the ego, we will question the value of the ego, we will be able to carefully assess the temptations that it poses.  Sickness is a form of temptation, Jesus tells us.  I find this interesting because for the past few days my body has been feeling ill.  Unable to go to the community center with my sister to exercise in the pool, yesterday I rested all afternoon and sipped at 7-up and ate saltine crackers.  While I did write and make an audio for my blog and do other little things around the house, I basically took it easy.  James made sure I was comfortable, he got some medicine for me to take, and he brought supper in, so we didn’t have to cook.

I don’t like sickness and so it naturally gave me pause to read that sickness is a temptation of the ego, that sickness is accepting the perception that my identity is my body and that I have accepted the ego’s confusion.  What concerned me is that this kind of thinking can be defeating for someone who seeks God and truth, for our bodies are vulnerable and our bodies do get sick, they age, and they die.  Some of us have bodies that are handicapped, diseased, or deformed.  Just as our genitals do not define us as God’s Son, neither does anything else about our bodies.  I was not sick for the past few days, but my body was under the weather. 

When James offered a prayer for me, he prayed for my body to feel better.  And when I woke up this morning it was feeling better.  It has become apparent to me that as my body ages, it does not react in the same way to our strong, dark French roast.  For quite some time I have been pushing my luck because I so enjoy drinking coffee.  It is one of our morning rituals that I cherish.  It is a delicious way to start the day and I love, not only the way our coffee tastes, but the way it makes our whole downstairs smell.  It is a big disappointment to me that drinking coffee is one more thing that my aging body does not fare well on, but I hardly think that I am choosing to identify with my ego rather than Holy Spirit simply because certain foods and beverages make my body ill. 

However, I do ask Holy Spirit to give me the right perception of the body.  When I question my resistance to this text reading, I do not want to side with the ego and defend my “right” to be sick but remain open to the answer that Holy Spirit provides for Jesus tells us that only perception can be sick, because only perception can be wrong. 

To perceive wrongly is to wish that things be different than they are.  Reality is wholly without harm.  Harmlessness is the condition of reality just as it is the condition of our awareness of reality.  There is nothing about reality that is meant to harm, weaken, put us down, or sicken us in any way.  God is harmless even as His creation is harmless.  It is only when we meet the conditions of harmlessness that we meet the condition of reality for because it is harmless, so must be its conditions.  Jesus says that this is the only part that is up to us.  Our little part of choosing harmlessness, to believing in harmlessness, to removing all violence, all disease, death, destruction, and decay from our belief system, to finding no value in attack of any kind, to seeing no good reason for sickness and sorrow – this decision we make to become harmless and to only believe in that which is harmless – is so powerful that it will bring the whole of reality to us.  Accept this and reality will be ours, Jesus tells us. 

When our minds are whole, when not one small part of our mind believes there is value in any form of attack, any kind of sickness, sadness, or sorrow – we are healed.  As long as we hold on to the enchantment of what is not reality, as long as we love the dream of all that is not God, we will get sick, and we will die.  The ego keeps us asleep to the reality of our health, holiness, and wholeness – we feel a little crazy believing in a Kingdom where there is no harm, where there is no ill will, where there is no sickness, or sorrow, no striving, conniving, or dying. We say Rest in Peace to those who have died, but Jesus says to use this as a blessing for those who are alive, for rest comes from waking up to the reality of God, not from sleeping in the dream of separation.  Jesus likens the separation to sleep, to dreams, to illusions where reality is opposed by that which is its opposite, where all that is worthwhile, true, and everlasting is replaced by that which is valueless, false, and fades away.  The ego uses sleep to entrance and to keep captive; Holy Spirit uses sleep and can use the dreams of ego to awaken us to reality if we choose.   

To whom do we give our time in the world?  Whom did we choose to be our teacher?  When we wake up to the ego’s illusions and are still doing battle with the ego, when we have sorrow, when we feel burdened by the world and all its darkness, disease, and death – we did not choose Holy Spirit as our teacher.  We are still trapped in an illusion of waking up, of being saved, of experiencing reality. 

Only when we awaken with joy have we used our time in the world according to Holy Spirit’s purpose.  If we have remained sick, if we have remained full of sorrow, if we have allowed the ego’s version of reality to be our reality in any way, we have misused our time in the world.  Sleep and death do not absolve us for we never lose our consciousness, and therefor we can never rest in peace until we have been awakened to reality.

When we no longer fear awakening, when we no longer cling to the dream that substitutes for God’s Kingdom, when we make the decision to be harmless even as God is harmless – we are healed.  All healing comes from replacing fear with love. 

It is important to note that Holy Spirit does not distinguish between different diseases or illnesses or forms of sickness. While I may be under the weather for a few days because my body seems to have developed an aversion to coffee, and you may think Oh, you big baby, how would you like to be stricken with cancer like me? – Holy Spirit does not teach that one form of sickness is any more serious than another.  There is only truth and what is not true, and Holy Spirit’s function is to distinguish between truth and lies and replace lies with truth. 

The ego yammers at us to attack, to be sick, to sate ourselves upon sorrow, sadness, strife, and thoughts that torment us and keep us embroiled in conflict, condemnation, and confusion.  To the ego this is life for the ego wants only what it hates.  The ego is afraid of our higher minds because our higher minds are dangerous to the ego for that is where our one Teacher of truth resides and to take anything away from Holy Spirit is impossible.  The ego hates peace because peace is quiet, calm, and reflective – peace is the condition of awakening to God, just as harmlessness is the condition of reality.  The ego’s demise is our peace and our harmlessness and so it does its best to keep our minds engaged in the worries and concerns we have in and with the flesh.

Jesus tells us that we are to be perfect, to heal all sickness, to take no thought of the body as separate, and to accomplish all things in the name of our shared identification as God’s Son.  We are to join with Him to do the works of love because we are one.  Our minds are whole, not because Jesus is God’s beloved Son and we are the slaves, the servants, the second best, in which He was benevolent enough to offer salvation but because we are one with Him.  If we are sick, we are not with Him, nor are we with our true and holy Selves.  Our sickness defines us not as one with Christ but as withdrawing from the Sonship and identifying with our egos. 

In paragraph eight, Jesus tells us that this is a practical course and that it means exactly what it says.  There are no loopholes here.  He simply would not ask us to do things which we could not do.  Jesus says if He could do something, it is impossible that we could not do it as well.  Nothing can prevent us from doing exactly what He asks, and everything argues for us doing it.  We have no limits because in God there are none.  Limitations denote sickness because limitations denote the split mind.  We must remember that sickness is never of the body, it always signifies that the mind is split and does not accept a unified purpose. 

Unifying our purpose with that of Holy Spirit’s is the only way of healing because it is the only level at which healing means anything.  As long as our belief systems are governed by chaos, uncertainty, doubt, and fear we cannot be healed, we will have sickness, disease, and strife.  But when we unify our purpose, brothers, when we decide for God, when we decide for harmlessness, when we decide for peace, when we join with the Mind of Christ, our reality and God’s reality are one. 

Our healing is part of God’s Well-Being because we are part of His Wholeness.  He has never lost this, but we have not known this, we have not accepted this, we have believed in that which had no meaning and offered us attack in place of the Answer.  Our healing rests upon His Will for us, for we are His Will, and His Will stands forever and in all things. 

Today in your devotional practice, ask God to make this text real to you.  Ask Holy Spirit to be your One Teacher and to be in charge of your time in the world, correcting your perception, and thus keeping you healthy, whole, and healed.  And above all else, ask Holy Spirit to strengthen our belief in all that is real, whole, and true.  In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one.  Amen. 

1 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. IX Healing as corrected perception. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 The Journey Back

VIII: The Body as a Means or End

  1. Attitudes toward the body are attitudes toward attack.  The ego’s definitions of anything are childish and are always based on what it believes the thing is for.  This is because it is incapable of true generalizations and equates what it sees with the function it ascribes to it.  It does not equate it with what it is.  To the ego the body is to attack with.  Equating you with the body, it teaches that you are to attack with.  The body, then, is not the source of its own health.  The body’s condition lies solely in your interpretation of its function.  Functions are part of being since they arise from it, but the relationship is not reciprocal.  The whole does define the part, but the part does not define the whole.  Yet to know in part is to know entirely because of the fundamental difference between knowledge and perception.  In perception the whole is built up of parts that can separate and reassemble in different constellations.  But knowledge never changes, so its constellation is permanent.  The idea of part-whole relationships has meaning only at the level of perception, where change is possible.  Otherwise, there is no difference between the part and the whole.
  2. The body exists in a world that seems to contain two voices fighting for its possession.  In this perceived constellation the body is seen as capable of shifting its allegiance from one to the other, making the concepts of health and sickness meaningful.  The ego makes a fundamental confusion between means and end as it always does.  Regarding the body as an end, the ego has no real use for it because it is not an end.  You must have noticed an outstanding characteristic of every end that the ego has accepted as its own.  When you have achieved it, it has not satisfied you.  This is why the ego is forced to shift ceaselessly from one goal to another, so that you will continue to hope it can yet offer you something.
  3. It has been particularly difficult to overcome the ego’s belief in the body as an end because it is synonymous with the belief in attack as an end.  The ego has a profound investment in sickness.  If you are sick, how can you object to the ego’s firm belief that you are not invulnerable?  This is an appealing argument from the ego’s point of view because it obscures the obvious attack that underlies the sickness.  If you recognized this and also decided against attack, you could not give this false witness to the ego’s stand.
  4. It is hard to perceive sickness as a false witness because you do not realize that it is entirely out of keeping with what you want.  This witness, then, appears to be innocent and trustworthy because you have not seriously cross-examined him.  If you had, you would not consider sickness such a strong witness on behalf of the ego’s views.  A more honest statement would be that those who want the ego are predisposed to defend it.  Therefore, their choice of witnesses should be suspect from the beginning.  The ego does not call upon witnesses who would disagree with its case, nor does the Holy Spirit.  I have said that judgment is the function of the Holy Spirit, and one He is perfectly equipped to fulfill.  The ego as a judge gives anything but an impartial judgment.  When the ego calls on a witness, it has already made the witness an ally.
  5. It is still true that the body has no function of itself because it is not an end.  The ego, however, establishes it as an end because, as such, its true function is obscured. This is the purpose of everything the ego does.  Its sole aim is to lose sight of the function of everything.  A sick body does not make any sense.  It could not make sense because sickness is not what the body is for.  Sickness is meaningful only if the two basic premises on which the ego’s interpretation of the body rests are true: that the body is for attack, and that you are a body.  Without these premises, sickness is inconceivable. 
  6. Sickness is a way of demonstrating that you can be hurt.  It is a witness to your frailty, your vulnerability, and your extreme need to depend on external guidance.  The ego uses this as its best argument for your need for its guidance.  It dictates endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes.  The Holy Spirit, perfectly aware of the same situation, does not bother to analyze it at all.  If data are meaningless there is no point in analyzing them.  The function of truth is to collect information that is true.  Any way you handle error results in nothing.  The more complicated the results become the harder it may be to recognize their nothingness, but it is not necessary to examine all possible outcomes to which premises give rise in order to judge them truly.
  7. A learning device is not a teacher.  It cannot tell you how you feel.  You do not know how you feel because you have accepted the ego’s confusion, and you therefore believe that a learning device can tell you how you feel.  Sickness is merely another example of your insistence on asking guidance from a teacher who does not know the answer.  The ego is incapable of knowing how you feel.  When I said that the ego does not know anything, I said the one thing about the ego that is wholly true.  But there is a corollary; if only knowledge has being and the ego has no knowledge, then the ego has no being. 
  8. You might well ask how the voice of something that does not exist can be so insistent.  Have you thought about the distorting power of something you want, even if it is not real?  There are many instances of how what you want distorts perception.  No one can doubt the ego’s skill in building up false cases.  Nor can anyone doubt your willingness to listen until you choose not to accept anything except truth.  When you lay the ego aside, it will be gone.  The Holy Spirit’s Voice is as loud as your willingness to listen.  It cannot be louder without violating your freedom of choice, which the Holy Spirit seeks to restore, never to undermine.
  9. The Holy Spirit teaches you to use your body only to reach your brothers, so He can teach His message through you.  This will heal them and therefore heal you.  Everything used in accordance with its function as the Holy Spirit sees it cannot be sick.  Everything used otherwise is.  Do not allow the body to be a mirror of a split mind.  Do not let it be an image of your own perception of littleness.  Do not let it reflect your decision to attack.  Health is seen as the natural state of everything when interpretation is left to the Holy Spirit, Who perceives no attack on anything.  Health is the result of relinquishing all attempts to use the body lovelessly.  Health is the beginning of the proper perspective on life under the guidance of the one Teacher Who knows what life is, being the Voice for Life Itself.[1]

As we read today’s text reading, ask Holy Spirit to help us understand this curriculum with joy, gladness, and a sincere desire to understand our proper attitude toward bodies.  Consider that the ego’s definitions of the body, as well as everything else, is an immature belief based upon what it thinks the body is for. 

For the ego does not equate the body with what it truly is.  To the ego the body was made for attack.  Attack may seem like a strong word.  We do not really call the comparisons, the lust and desires we have toward our own body and other bodies, the competitions, and condemnations that we are so ready to dish out, or even the slapstick mockery and ridicule we display toward bodies as forms of attack, but that is what Jesus calls this, and so we should carefully consider how He comes to that conclusion and accept it as truth. 

The body simply is not what we are. As symbols of the ego, the body is used for attack.  There is only so much to go around, and we vie with other bodies to put ourselves in the best position possible to get what we feel is our fair share, or perhaps more than our fair share!  We compare our bodies to other bodies, we lust after bodies, we enslave bodies to work, to entertain, to provide for our sustenance, our pleasure, our desire for competition, our desire to put others down to build ourselves up.  Call it anything you like, but our bodies are animalistic in nature:  stand between me and my food, my kids, my husband, my this or my that, and you are putting yourself in a dangerous position.

The most radical expectation of any spiritual walk is that we are required to go beyond the body, our animal natures, our egos.  Jesus tells us that the condition of our bodies lies solely in our attitude toward its function.  When we identify our bodies as self, our bodies are used for attack, we become depressed and diseased, we do not have a happy time with our bodies.  However, if our minds transcend the body using them as a means for extending love, peace, and joy our bodies will be invulnerable to attack because our minds are invulnerable to attack.  Extending the Mind of Christ, awakening the Sonship guarantees body health and well-being until it is time to reunite completely with God. 

Meditate upon paragraph one and ask Holy Spirit to reveal its meaning to you.  This is a beautiful description of how Being stands alone.  Function comes from Being; Being does not come from function.  Being stands alone as the Treasure of God.  Whether it is performing its function or not, whether it is used for joy and gladness or seeming attack, Being never loses its place in God’s Kingdom.  In the ego realm of perception this is seldom the case.  Being is seldom recognized as having any worth at all; and it is the separate functions that define our worth to one another.  Your husband is a good husband until he stops performing the duties your ego has assigned to him and then you are only too ready to toss him over and get a new one!  Your kid who drops out of college, lays about on the couch, and plays video games all day is a crying shame to the rest of the family.  A friend who blabs all your secrets and hides her own sins behind the stories about yours – is only too easy to drop and move on.  We can barely get our mind around the fact that Being is unchangeable, because in perceptual world, everybody changes, assumes different roles, one day an ally, next an enemy.  We like this and this and this about someone but truly despise that and that.  Split minds cannot perceive wholeness and truth but rather opposites and opposition.  It is only with our whole mind that we can understand that Being is the Treasure of God and that function is a by-product of Being. 

Getting beyond the perceptual world means going beyond the two voices which seem to be in constant conflict over claiming the body.  One day we will love Jesus, read our bibles, and profess love and undying devotion for all of humankind and the next we will be spewing forth curses, ranting against the government, and wonder how in the world we are expected to love people when they are so vile, ugly, and stupid!  When we fall for this perception, we will mistake the conflicts of the two voices of ego for a quarrel between God and ego – and become depressed over our mind’s shifting allegiances.  Opposites seem to have meaning in such conditions.  Health and sickness then make sense.  That battle that goes on in our mind is all ego.  There is no battle over the mind.  The mind belongs to God, and when we accept this as truth, our mind is saved from the ongoing conflict.  We rise above the ploys of the ego, we use the body for a means to help others, and we are no longer in a state of depletion, confusion, wondering why our lives are topsy-turvy, up and down, back and forth. 

Jesus tells us that the ego will keep us shifting from one goal to the next always thinking, always hoping that there is something we can achieve, something we can do which will mean something.  Another baby. A different job.  A new friend.  A new spouse.  A bigger house.  Another degree.  But there is nothing in the perceptual world that amounts to anything of meaning and we may spend lifetimes chasing after the ruses of the ego before we realize that there must be something more.   

The ego has a clever advantage in sickness for when we are sick, how can we say we are invulnerable in Christ?  How does the Mind of Christ hold any truth when our bodies are wracked by pain or crippled by disease?  Christ says that if we recognized how illness of any kind hides the attack that triggers it, we would not fall for this ploy, for it is a false witness to our thoughts of attack.   

As hard as it may be to perceive sickness as a false witness, it is only because we do not seriously examine the hard fact that it is entirely opposite to what we really want.  When we defend sickness, we defend the ego, we defend attack, we defend our identity with body.  When ego is the judge we are bodies, and we are here to vie with other bodies.  As judge, ego will only call on witnesses that agree with it.  We are sick because we are bodies, because we are vulnerable, because we have no power and glory except through attack.  This is the ego’s judgment, and it seems to be true. 

Sick bodies do not make any sense to Holy Spirit.  It does not make sense to our higher mind because our higher mind uses the bodies not as an end, but as a means to extend God’s Kingdom.  A sick body does not extend God’s love, peace, and joy.  Knowing that we are not bodies, and that the body is not for attack – sickness is not accepted by Holy Spirit because there is no God in it, there is not truth in it, there is no Sonship in it. 

Sickness demonstrates the vulnerability of God’s Son.  Sickness stands as the ego’s witness to the falsehood of God and His Kingdom, to Holy Spirit, and to His Will.  Sickness is the ego’s way of using external treatments from the perceptual world as our source of healing, comfort, and peace.  The ego’s way of healing the body consists of endless prescriptions, operations, appointments, insurances, and cures to avoid disaster and destruction.  The ego’s way collects information, performs blood tests, links genetic markers, and derives stool and urine samples.  The more complicated and costly the procedures, the more difficult it is to see the nothingness behind it.

Holy Spirit’s way of healing does not bother with any of this at all.  To Holy Spirit data is meaningless – collecting information that is true, Holy Spirit cannot be bothered with the meaningless and senseless.  There is simply no good reason to examine all possible causes and outcomes to which sickness surfaces for they all come from the same source:  mistaking the body as an end rather than the means. 

To guarantee the health of our bodies, we use them for the aim of God’s Kingdom.  The love, peace, and joy that we extend to others not only heals them but heals us.  Whatever we use to extend God’s Kingdom will be blessed. Health is the result of giving up all attempts to use the body in unloving ways.  Health is our promise because it is the beginning of the right perception of life under the guidance of Holy Spirit, Who knows what life is because He is the Voice for Life Itself. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. VIII The body as a means or an end. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 The Journey Back

VII: The Body as a Means of Communication

9. In this world, not even the body is perceived as whole.  Its purpose is seen as fragmented into many functions with little or no relationship to each other, so that it appears to be ruled by chaos. By the ego, it is. Guided by the Holy Spirit, it is not. It becomes a means by which the part of the mind you tried to separate from spirit can reach beyond its distortions and return to spirit. The egos temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense the body does become a temple to God, His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.

10. Healing is the result of using the body solely for communication.  Since this is natural it heals by making whole, which is also natural. All mind is whole, and the belief that part of it is physical, or not mind, is a fragmented interpretation. Mind cannot be made physical, but it can be made manifest through the physical if it uses the body to go beyond itself. By reaching out, the mind extends itself. It does not stop at the body, for if it does it is blocked in its purpose. A mind that has been blocked has allowed itself to be vulnerable to attack, because it has turned against itself.

11. The removal of blocks, then, is the only way to guarantee help and healing.  Help and healing are the normal expressions of a mind that is working through the body, but not in it. If the mind believes the body is its goal, it will distort its perception of the body, and by blocking its own extension beyond it, will induce illness by fostering separation. Perceiving the body as a separate entity cannot but foster illness because it is not true. A medium of communication loses its usefulness if it is used for anything else. To use a medium of communication as a medium of attack is an obvious confusion in purpose.

12. To communicate is to join and to attack is to separate. How can you do both simultaneously with the same thing and not suffer? Perception of the body can be unified only by one purpose. This releases the mind from the temptation to see the body in many lights and gives it over entirely to the one light in which it can be really understood. To confuse a learning device with a curriculum goal is a fundamental confusion that blocks the understanding of both. Learning must lead beyond the body to the reestablishment of the power of the mind in it. This can be accomplished only if the mind extends to other minds and does not arrest itself in its extension. This arrest is the cause of all illness because only extension is the mind’s function.

13. The opposite of joy is depression. When your learning promotes depression instead of joy, you cannot be listening to God’s joyous Teacher and learning His lessons. To see a body as anything except a means of communication is to limit your mind and to hurt yourself. Health is therefor nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, it becomes whole because the mind’s purpose is one. Attack can only be an assumed purpose of the body, apart from the mind the body has no purpose at all.

14. You are not limited by the body, and thought cannot be made flesh. Yet mind can be manifested through the body if it goes beyond it and does not interpret it as limitation. Whenever you see another as limited to or by the body, you are imposing this limit on yourself. Are you willing to accept this, when your whole purpose for learning should be to escape from limitations? To conceive of the body as a means of attack and to believe that joy could possibly result, is a clear-cut indication of a poor learner. He has accepted a learning goal in obvious contradiction to the unified purpose of the curriculum, and one that is interfering with his ability to accept its purpose as his own.

15. Joy is unified purpose, and unified purpose is only God’s. When yours is unified it is His. Believe you can interfere with His purpose, and you need salvation. You have condemned yourself, but condemnation is not of God. Therefore, it is not true. No more are any of its seeming results. When you see a brother as a body, you are condemning him because you have condemned yourself. Yet if all condemnation is unreal, and it must be unreal since it is a form of attack, then it can have no results.

16. Do not allow yourself to suffer from imagined results of what is not true. Free your mind from the belief that this is possible. In its complete impossibility lies your only hope for release. But what other hope would you want? Freedom from illusions lies only in not believing in them. There is no attack, but there is unlimited communication and therefore unlimited power and wholeness. The power of wholeness is extension. Do not arrest your thought in this world, and you will open your mind to creation in God.[1]

In the perceptual world our bodies are always in need of something – on a moment-to-moment basis there is constant demand required for its sustenance, comfort, or esteem.  Ruled by ego the body is not one seeming whole but of many parts and each part having little to do with its other parts.  Go to the doctor for healing of one part of your body and come away with one medicine to treat that part and other medicines to make up for the detriment caused by the first treatment.

When we are guided by Holy Spirit we are not guided by confusion.  Our bodies become a means of communication between our lower minds ruled by ego and our higher minds where Holy Spirit resides.  That which was designed to symbolize the ego is therefore transformed into the temple of Holy Spirit.  That which was devoted to the ego becomes devoted to Holy Spirit.  In this sense the body becomes a temple to God because His Voice abides in it and directs the use to which the body is put. 

Instead of using our body for separation, Holy Spirit uses the body for communion, for communication.  By communion we are made whole – our minds made whole by saving the lower mind from its allegiance to the ego; our bodies made whole as long as we need them for communication in the world.  Jesus tells us that it is not that our mind is made physical, but that it is made manifest through the physical if it can use the body to go beyond the body.  In other words, what is of God, of Spirit, of mind can never be physical but it can shine through the physical and use it for the purpose of extending God’s Kingdom.  Just as my office light is merely a dust-collecting ornament until I turn it on and electricity flows through it, my body is merely flesh and blood, bone and gristle until it is used and guided by the Voice for God.  My body is only God’s temple when I devote it to the higher mind of Christ, and He directs the use for it. 

We must never mistake our bodies, however, for the mind of Christ, for the mind of Christ is our wholeness which cannot be made physical.  The mind of Christ never stops at the body, for if it did, it would block the purpose of God which is extension through communication that leads to communion which leads to wholeness.  We do not take our bodies with us to God’s Kingdom, they simply are transformed into useful devices when our minds are devoted to God to extend His Kingdom. 

When bodies are not used for God’s Kingdom but are instead used as an end in themselves, they are blocked from their natural function and turned against itself.  This is not only depressing to the mind, but will also become manifest in the body, weakening it and allowing it to be vulnerable to attack.

To guarantee help and healing, that which blocks the mind from its true purpose must be removed.  In paragraph eleven, Jesus tells us that help and healing are the normal expression of the mind that is working through the body but not in it.  Meditate upon this section of our text today in your personal devotion for it is critical that we have the correct way in which to relate to our bodies if we are to join with Christ in His Vision of the world. 

If extending our bodies is our goal, if we limit our perception to our own bodies, to identifying to our human form and putting our efforts and our minds to use to extend our life in the flesh, our minds’ belief in this goal will foster separation which does not heal but induces illness.  If my goal is to live to be the oldest woman in the neighborhood, and I set my mind to live for that goal alone, I am perceiving my body as a separate entity from everyone else.  I don’t care if my neighbor Sandy lives to be a hundred, or my neighbor Talisha lives to be a hundred, I only care that I do!  I am going to eat the right food, exercise, and do all the things I can to live to be older than them all.  When my neighbors begin to kick the bucket, I can only think with glee, Oh, I am glad it is not me!  I’ll show them.  I will outlive them all

This may be a humorous illustration, but this is the concept of using our medium of communication, our bodies, as a medium of attack because it is a palpable misunderstanding of its purpose.  Holy Spirit’s use of my body is not to outlive other people, to be healthier, wealthier, or more at peace than others – Holy Spirit’s use of my body is to be a communication device that extends wholeness to all – and not for myself alone. 

The way in which we perceive our bodies is unified by the one purpose of Holy Spirit.  When we view our bodies as a means in which to share the attributes of God we are freed of the temptation to see our body as a curse, as a way to show off, as an instrument of evil, or as a spineless dummy easily manipulated be the demands and drives of chemicals and impulses.  We are freed from the role of victimizer; even as we are freed from the role of victim. 

To confuse our bodies with our true Identity is to confuse the goal of our curriculum which is to find our true Identity as the spiritual attributes of God. True learning leads beyond bodies to the power of the mind within them.  Getting hung up on our belief in bodies is the cause of all illness.  As long as we think we are bodies, we deny the mind’s extension to all, we will become depressed, imprisoning our minds in a state of despair and delusion.

This is the opposite of God’s Will for us.  If what we learn gives us a sense of despair and fills us with dread, we are not listening to Holy Spirit nor learning the things of God.  When we look upon each other’s bodies as anything other than a means to communicate and extend the love, peace, and joy of God’s Kingdom, we limit our minds and hurt ourselves.  Jesus tells us that health is the result of applying our bodies to the purpose of our mind because otherwise the body has no real purpose or meaning at all.

Thoughts cannot be made flesh, but they do go beyond the body directed by a mind that does not perceive the body as a limitation.  When we look upon our brothers and see them, judge them, pity them or adore them because of their body, we are attacking them by mistaking their bodies for what they really are.  Instead of thinking with God, we are perceiving exactly what the ego would have us perceive.  Even if we are thinking of how adorable, how sexy, how downright cute and precious another brother is judging him as his body – we are attacking him, we are valuing that which has no value to God, we are overlooking the true Treasure of God.  And when we do this to another, we are valuing that which has no value in ourselves. 

This is in direct opposition to our Course.  We are not here to flatter or to be moved to pity, rage, envy, or disgust over one another’s bodies.  We are to recognize that our bodies are devices that when used by the ego, limit our worth to a finite and meaningless existence, keeping us trapped in a realm of ego, thinking that what we are doing with them is of vast importance when really it has none outside of the finite cycles of time.  This can only signify that we are poor learners.  Health and joy will never be the result of such misconception and malpractice. 

We condemn one another when we perceive each other as bodies, rather than the mind of Christ, the eternal Sons of God.  Condemnation seems like a strong word, but as long as we are relating to one another as bodies, we remain in a state of dismay, disease, and death – a realm that has no real reality.  All the condemnation we offer to one another, is no more real than the realm of nothingness in which it takes place.  However, we will think it is real and the power of our belief will convince us that we cannot be freed.

Our hope for release from the ego, from the body, from the realm of opposites and opposition depends on our willingness and our efforts toward not believing in the illusions engendered by lies.  We are called to see through them, to see past them, to refuse to fear the Son of God within us so that we are free to love that all that is of Spirit and Truth.  Make this your aim by dedicating yourself to the Mind of Christ. Ask Jesus to help you see past the world of bodies, of egos, the world of attack, the world that would limit the power and the glory of God and His Son.  As we dedicate our mind to Christ, we also dedicate our bodies to be used not for attack but for the everlasting power and wholeness of true and holy communication.  Only when we do not allow our thoughts to be arrested by this world, is our mind receptive to the Creation in God’s Kingdom. 

In your personal devotion today, ask Christ to show you how to apply these concepts in your daily walk with Him.  Ask Christ to give you His Vision when you look upon the bodies of your family, friends, and colleagues.  When we see past the bodies of others, we are freeing ourselves from the bondage of our own attachment to that which imprisons us and keeps us bound to a realm of separateness.  If this concept is hard for you to grasp and you feel strong resistance to the ideas in this text, do not be discouraged.  Simply relax and ask Christ for help.  We are the treasure of God and we are not left to our own lack of understanding; nor do we transcend the ego on our own!  Jesus promises to give us His Hand when we ask for it in our search for freedom and for truth.  My prayer is that the love of Jesus will sustain you in your seeking; that the Voice for God will guide you ever homeward, and that my thoughts and your thoughts will be united in truth forever.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The Journey Back VII The body as a means of communication 9-16. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 – The Journey Back

VII: The Body as a Means of Communication 1-8

  1. Attack is always physical. When attack in any form enters your mind, you are equating yourself with a body, since this is the ego’s interpretation of the body. You do not have to attack physically to accept this interpretation. You are accepting it simply by the belief that attack can get you something you want. If you did not believe this, the idea of attack would have no appeal for you. When you equate yourself with a body you will always experience depression. When a child of God thinks of himself in this way he is belittling himself, and seeing his brothers as similarly belittled. Since he can find himself only in them, he has cut himself off from salvation.
  2. Remember that the Holy Spirit interprets the body only as a means of communication. Being the communication link between God and His separated sons, the Holy Spirit interprets everything you have made in the light of what He is. The ego separates through the body. The Holy Spirit reaches through it to others. You do not perceive your brothers as the Holy Spirit does, because you do not regard bodies solely as a means of joining minds and uniting them and mine. This interpretation of the body will change your mind entirely about its value.  Of itself it has none.
  3. If you use the body for attack, it is harmful to you. If you use it only to reach the minds of those who believe they are bodies and teach them through the body that this is not so, you will understand the power of the mind that is in you. If you use the body for this and only for this, you cannot use it for attack. In the service of uniting it becomes a beautiful lesson in communion, which has value until communion is. This is God’s way of making unlimited what you have limited.  The Holy Spirit does not see the body as you do, because He knows the only reality of anything is the service it renders God on behalf of the function He gives it.
  4. Communication ends separation. Attack promotes it. The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put. And in the body of another you will see the use to which you have put yours.  If the body becomes a means you give to the Holy Spirit to use on behalf of union of the Sonship, you will not see anything physical except as what it is. Use it for truth and you will see it truly. Misuse it and you will misunderstand it because you have already done so by misusing it. Interpret anything apart from the Holy Spirit and you will mistrust it. This will lead you to hatred and attack and loss of peace.
  5. Yet all loss comes only from your own misunderstanding. Loss of any kind is impossible. But when you look upon a brother as a physical entity, his power and glory are “lost” to you and so are yours. You have attacked him, but you must have attacked yourself first.  Do not see him this way for your own salvation, which must bring him his. Do not allow him to belittle himself in your mind, but give him freedom from his belief in littleness, and thus escape from yours. As part of you, he is holy. As part of me, you are. To communicate with part of God Himself is to reach beyond the Kingdom to its Creator, through His Voice which He has established as part of you.
  6. Rejoice, then, that of yourself you can do nothing. You are not of yourself. He of whom you are has willed your power and glory for you, with which you can perfectly accomplish His holy Will for you when you accept it for yourself. He has not withdrawn His gifts from you, but you believe you have withdrawn them from Him. Let no Son of God remain hidden for His Name’s sake because His Name is yours.
  7. The Bible says, “The word (or thought) was made flesh.” Strictly speaking this is impossible since it seems to involve the translation of one order of reality into another. Different orders of reality merely appear to exist, just as different orders of miracles do. Thought cannot be made into flesh except by belief since thought is not physical. Yet thought is communication, for which the body can be used. This is the only natural use to which it can be put. To use the body unnaturally is to lose sight of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and thus to confuse the goal of His curriculum.
  8. There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as a curriculum he cannot learn. His sense of adequacy suffers, and he must become depressed. Being faced with an impossible learning situation is the most depressing thing in the world. In fact, it is ultimately why the world itself is depressing. The Holy Spirit’s curriculum is never depressing because it is a curriculum of joy. Whenever the reaction to learning is depression, it is because the true goal of the curriculum has been lost sight of. [1]

Attack will never get us what we want!  If we think that by badmouthing others, undermining their ambitions, or plotting revenge upon our enemies will give us rest, will give us satisfaction, will make us feel worthy we are sadly mistaken.  Identifying ourselves as the symbols of the ego, always leads to depression.  We may get away with it for awhile, we may think of ourselves as mean, lean, fighting machines and others better think twice before messing with us, but this pretense does not hold up for long.  As the Will of God, we are created to be love, peace, and joy; as the ego-made body, our bodies simply cannot withstand abuse, the passing of time, or the physical/emotional trauma that wounds not only our bodies, but our emotional and mental life as well.

Thinking of ourselves as bodies set to attack other bodies belittles not only our true sense of Self but also our sense of the Brotherhood.  We cut ourselves off from salvation because we can only find our wholeness in our brothers. 

Holy Spirit sees our body only as a way we can communicate during our sojourn in separation.  Holy Spirit is our communication – with God and with the Sonship and as God’s Voice within rather than separating us through the body from other bodies, Holy Spirit uses the body to reach other bodies.  Holy Spirit sees our bodies and the bodies of everybody we meet as a means of joining minds and uniting them with the mind of Christ. 

It is not Holy Spirit which ruminates upon the past ill will and wrongdoing of our neighbors, but rather Holy Spirit sees our neighbors as they really are – fellow Treasures of God who made a mistake that simply needs to be forgiven and overlooked.  Holy Spirit sees our kids and grandkids, not as special because they belong to us and therefore are owed special favors, blessings, and protection from God, but as mutual, equal brothers who need to learn their own lessons in their own time without our interference, compulsion, or partiality. 

Until we join with the mind of Christ and see our body as only a means to join minds with Christ, we will grow depressed and despondent for our bodies are not who we are, and this becomes ever more apparent with the passing of time. 

The only way we can understand the power of the mind of Christ within us is to use the mind of Christ to unite other minds with Christ.  Our bodies become a beautiful lesson in communion when we use it solely for the purpose of uniting.  Our bodies will have value then until it is time to put them aside and unite completely with God.  When we use our bodies for uniting minds, God is making use of the limited in a way which has no limits.  While our bodies seem very real to us and very demanding and taking up a lot of our time on its incessant needs for food, water, exercise, rest, grooming, and companionship – our true Self sees our body only for what service it renders to the increase of God’s Treasury! 

When I communicate with you and you communicate with me, the separation between us is ended.  When I attack you and you attack me, the separation between us becomes wider.  Jesus tells us that our bodies can be described only by the use to which we put them.  Physically you could describe me as an older woman with gray hair, a crinkly neck, and lumpy thighs, but when my body is used as a means to unify the Sonship of God, you will not describe me as such.  For when I am what I am called to be in Christ, you will see me, and my body truly and so will I. 

When we misuse our bodies, we have taken Holy Spirit, our true Selves out of the picture.  We will not trust our bodies, because we do not trust our true Selves.  When we do not trust our Selves, we do hateful things, we say mean things about others, we project our own self-condemnation upon our friends and family, our colleagues, our neighbors, priests, and political figures.  This is in direct opposition to what we really are, and we will not be joyful, loving, or at peace. 

Loss of what belongs to us is only a perception, a feeling, a sense of what it would feel like if it were possible.  We can never lose what we are – but when we look upon ourselves and others as physical entities, the power and glory that we have is “lost” to our perception.  Because when I look upon my brother with miserly thoughts about his body, about his personality, about his dirty deeds – when I see my brother as anything other than my equal, I have belittled him in my own mind.  I have refused him entrance and thus denied him union.  By denying my brother salvation I also deny my own salvation for I cannot be saved without him.  

Jesus tells us very explicitly to give our brothers freedom from their belief in littleness and thus escape our own belief in this false and tricky kingdom.  When we can look upon our brothers as part of us, they become holy because as part of Christ, we are holy. 

Every single one of us has been given Holy Spirit with which we communicate to God and with each part of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus tells us to overcome our programming to see others as in relation to our bodies and their bodies, to see past what the ego ensnares us with, and to go straight to the Creator who sees us all as His Son.  Only when we collaborate with the Voice for God in this way, until we use our bodies as a means of communicating Brotherhood, can we be saved from the unholy realm of division, separateness, and the split mind. 

Thankful that we did not create ourselves; we can never be too appreciative that in accepting ourselves as God’s Will, we are no longer trapped in a perceptual world of no hope, no holiness, no wholeness.  When we see ourselves as God’s Treasure, we know that there is no sin too great, no shame too thick, no sorrow too heavy that would hinder us from our return to God.  God does not care about any of that – we are His and He is ours.  Whether we believe it or not – the truth remains of His undying love and devotion toward us. 

In paragraph seven, Jesus tells us that thoughts cannot be made into flesh or any other physical substance, because thoughts are spirit.  Anything other than spirit only appear to exist – our bodies, the physical manifestation of our world, and all that is in it are not real in any eternal sense of the word.  Our stab at independence from God and all of Creation is the result of our belief in separation, in sin, shame, and sacrifice.   However, real or not, our bodies can communicate thought, and this is the only natural use to which Holy Spirit can use our bodies to unite us with God, with each other, and teach us the reality we forgot.

To learn the means of return to God, we must have a curriculum that we can learn.  The world itself cannot be learned and that is why there is so much depression because nothing here makes sense or provides meaning, and senselessness and meaninglessness is disheartening.  Holy Spirit’s curriculum is one of joy – if we are not joyful in our learning, it is because we are trying to learn the wrong thing from the wrong teacher.  Let joy then be our standard in keeping us on the path that leads to God! 

We will end today’s post with paragraph eight and finish the last eight paragraphs tomorrow.  In the meantime ask Holy Spirit to teach you with joy the means to joy – giving your body as a means of communicating the Oneness of God to those who have forgotten. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. VII The body as a means of communication 1-8. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 The Journey Back

VI: The Treasure of God 6-10

6.  Your function is to add to God’s treasure by creating yours. His will to you is His will for you. He would not withhold creation from you because His joy is in it. You cannot find joy except as God does. His joy lay in creating you, and He extends His Fatherhood to you so that you can extend yourself as He did. You do not understand this because you do not understand Him. No one who does not accept his function can understand what it is, and no one can accept his function unless he knows what he is. Creation is the will of God. His will created you to create. Your will was not created separate from His, and so you must will as He wills.

7.  An “unwilling will” does not mean anything, being a contradiction in terms that actually means nothing. When you think you are unwilling to will with God, you are not thinking. God’s will is thought. It cannot be contradicted by thought. God does not contradict Himself, and His sons, who are like Him, cannot contradict themselves or Him. Yet their thought is so powerful that they can even imprison the mind of God’s Son if they so choose. This choice does make the Son’s function unknown to him, but never to his Creator. And because it is not unknown to his Creator, it is forever knowable to him.

8.  There is no question, but one should you ever ask of yourself: – “Do I want to know my Father’s Will for me?”  He will not hide it. He has revealed it to me because I asked it of Him and learned of what He had already given. Our function is to work together because apart from each other we cannot function at all. The whole power of God’s Son lies in all of us, but not in any of us alone. God would not have us be alone because He does not will to be alone.  That is why He created His Son and gave him the power to create with Him. Our creations are as holy as we are, and we are the sons of God himself, as holy as He is. Through our creations we extend our love, and thus increase the joy of the Holy Trinity. You do not understand this, because you who are God’s own treasure do not regard yourself as valuable. Given this belief, you cannot understand anything.

9.  I share with God the knowledge of the value He puts up on you. My devotion to you is of Him, being born of my knowledge of myself and Him. We cannot be separated. Whom God has joined cannot be separated, and God has joined all His Sons with Himself. Can you be separated from your life and your being? The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described, and it cannot be explained. I can make you aware of the conditions of truth, but the experience is of God. Together we can meet its conditions, but truth will dawn upon you of itself.

10.  What God has willed for you is yours.  He has given His Will to His treasure, whose treasure it is.  Your heart lies where your treasure is, as His does.  You who are beloved of God are wholly blessed.  Learn this of me, and free the holy will of all those who are as blessed as you are. [1]

Until we understand ourselves as God’s Treasure and understand that as God’s Treasure we are to create more of God’s Treasure can we find true joy.  God did not create us to worship Him forever and ever as He sits on His throne and bloats Himself on His own importance.  We must get this picture out of our mind for it is an illustration of what the ego would be if it were God.  We were created to find the joy in creation and extend the Kingdom of God outward forever and ever.  There is no end to the extension of God’s Kingdom and to be part of that marvelous unfolding, God shared of Himself for us to share of ourselves. 

Many of us in our human condition think that it is God’s Will to have a big family, to have many children and perhaps many wives in order to have as many children as we possibly can to extend God’s Kingdom.  Jesus teaches us that we extend God’s Kingdom by extending the attributes of God.  When we extend love and peace and joy we create more love and peace and joy.  If we think that having more humans is extending God’s Kingdom, taking a close look at the history of the world will show us that more humans does not necessarily mean more love, peace, and joy.  In fact having more humans means just the opposite.  For humans are symbols of the ego’s making.  While we make the decision to identify as humans, we are in opposition to God.  It does not matter how “good” we are as humans; our very human form is the symbol of opposition.  We took what we are and decided to remake ourselves into something else and this dear friend is what we have here! 

Because we belong to God our will and God’s Will are the same.  We will create.  In the perceptual world we make more humans, we build bridges, we paint, sew, plant, weave, we do all kinds of things in which to create, but what we make does not last and has no everlasting value.  Any life that is given in the perceptual world is very temporary and uncertain and everything else within the world is out to take it away.  It is impossible to keep what is made in this world, and yet it seductively keeps our minds asleep to this fact as long as it can, distracting it with constant concerns of the flesh, the flash, the fictional.

God’s Will is not of this world.  What God gives cannot ever be taken away because it is Spirit, and it is Truth.   God’s Will lasts forever.  It is not flesh, there is no need for it to be flashy, nor is it fictional.  It is not in parts, but it is whole.  It is not for this one or that one, but for all – it is all inclusive and cannot be divided. 

To divide our wills then is a contradiction of God’s Will and can only be done in a fictional kingdom, a story that we wish to believe, a virtual reality that poses as reality itself.  In yesterday’s post, Jesus asked us to listen to the story of the prodigal son.  He left his father’s home to whoop it up in the place that had no worth, no value, no substance, no truth.  He stayed until he spent his inheritance and only after it was spent did he realize that it had passed away and he was left with nothing.  That is our life in the flesh.  Many times it is not until decades of our life are spent thinking that our human identity is our true identity and wondering why God lets such terrible things happen to little babies and why He sends disasters and death and disease on our populations until we realize that this is not God’s Kingdom and could never be God’s Kingdom!  

We are the son who left the Father’s Kingdom.  Perhaps we thought that maybe there was something more exciting than being love, peace, and joy.  We could take our Father’s Treasure and make something dangerous and thrilling and dreadful.  We wanted power and glory, but we wanted it for ourselves alone, not only for dominion over the animals but over each other.  Our thoughts were entranced by a world of predators, stalking, and lust.   We would sate ourselves on fear, rather than love.  Instead of spirit we would be flesh, we would get physical, we would take our creativity and use it for opposites and opposition rather than wholeness and peace. Our minds would be split between good and evil, light and dark, love and hate, happiness and despair.  We would make war as well as peace.  We would make our own gods and project all our own desires upon our gods and make them like us, demanding sacrifices and blood, enslavement, sorrow and shame.  We would make a hellish realm and say it was made by God and blame every bad thing that happened therein on His wrath, His anger, His spite and revenge.  He would be big; we would be small.  He would have all power; we would have none.  He would be strong; we would be weak and vulnerable. 

We may have forgotten that we are God’s Treasure, but God remembered.  We may have forgotten what we were made to do, but God remembered.  And because He never forgot it, when we are ready to take a long, hard look at what we made and ask for what God Wills, it is ours.  For we can no longer lose our Identity as God’s Will than God could lose His Identity as God. 

The power of God’s Son lies in all and never in one alone.  We are God’s treasure and yet we have no value at all, have no meaning, and are as nothing without God, without Christ, and without each other.  Pay particular attention to paragraphs eight through ten.  Jesus tells us that God’s Will cannot be separated – God has joined all His Sons with Himself.  The journey to God is simply awakening to this fact – that our minds are one with Christ, that we all belong to God, that our sojourn in separateness is as a dream, an illusion, that the march of time itself is a lie.  It is a record of a fictional account about nothing.  The only thing to learn here is that it is not God’s Kingdom, it is not God’s Creation, and to behold it is to be taken in by its lies and delusion. 

We must experience this truth for ourselves for Jesus Himself cannot describe truth or explain it to us.  We can learn the conditions of truth, but to know truth is an experience of God.  With Christ we meet the condition of truth – only Jesus can bring us past the illusions of the world to the place of peace in which truth is made known.  Truth dawns upon each one of us as we ask for it, as we prepare ourselves for it, when we are ready for it. 

Know this, dear brothers, you are the Will of God; you are the treasure of God.  Our heart and God’s heart belongs  together and the benevolence of God wills for us to share this treasure, to extend it to all, to withhold it from nobody in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds.  In your personal devotional habit, ask God to show you how to share what you are – in your thoughts offer all of those that parade across your mind thoughts of love, peace, and joy.  Do not give any credit to the thoughts of the lower mind which delight in jealousy, greed, gossip, and grudges but join your mind with the mind of Christ and ask to be taught the conditions for truth. 

Learning this of Christ frees all who are held captive by the entrancement of this world.  For we are all the treasure of God and none of us can go Home until we all go Home together. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. VI The treasure of God 6-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 The Journey Back

VI: The Treasure of God

  1. We are the joint will of the Sonship, whose wholeness is for all.  We begin the journey back by setting out together and gather in our brothers as we continue together.  Every gain in our strength is offered for all, so they too can lay aside their weakness and add their strength to us.  God’s welcome waits for us all, and He will welcome us as I am welcoming you.  Forget not the Kingdom of God for anything the world has to offer.
  2. The world can add nothing to the power in the glory of God and His holy Son’s, but it can blind the Sons to the Father if they behold it. You cannot behold the world and know God. Only one is true. I am come to tell you the choice of which is true is not yours to make. If it were, you would have destroyed yourself. Yet God did not will the destruction of His creations, having created them for eternity. His will has saved you, not from yourself but from your illusion of yourself. He has saved you for yourself.
  3. Let us glorify Him Whom the world denies, for over His Kingdom the world has no power. No one created by God can find joy in anything except the eternal; not because he is deprived of anything else, but because nothing else is worthy of him. What God and His Sons create is eternal, and in this and this only is their joy.
  4. Listen to the story of the prodigal son and learn what God’s treasure is and yours. This son of a loving father left his home and thought he had squandered everything for nothing of value, although he had not understood its worthlessness at the time. He was ashamed to return to his father because he thought he had hurt him. Yet when he came home the father welcomed him with joy, because the son himself was his father’s treasure. He wanted nothing else.
  5. God wants only His Son because His Son is His only treasure. You want your creations as He wants His. Your creations are your gift to the Holy Trinity, created in gratitude for your creation. They do not leave you any more than you left your Creator, extend your creation as God extended Himself to you. Can the creations of God Himself take joy in what is not real? And what is real except the creations of God and those that are created like His? Your creations love you as you love your Father for the gift of creation. There is no other gift that is eternal, and therefore there is no other gift that is true. How, then, can you accept anything else or give anything else, and expect joy in return?  And what else but joy would you want? You made neither yourself nor your function. You made only the decision to be unworthy of both. Yet you cannot make yourself unworthy because you are the treasure of God, and what He values is valuable. There can be no question of its worth because its value lies in God’s sharing Himself with it and establishing its value forever.[1]

To learn the treasure of God meditate upon the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  We are the treasure of God Jesus tells us in paragraph five of today’s reading.  We bring God’s treasure back to the Father by joining our mind with the mind of Christ.  We gather in our brothers as we continue on our journey – we are not here in the world to conquer it, to torture and to kill those who do not believe like us, to fight over limited resources, to bicker over differences in doctrines and tenets of faith.  We are not here to build huge tabernacles or make a name for ourselves in the spread of Christianity.  We are here to join Christ in the Atonement gospel.  This has lost its meaning for so long that most of us have no idea what it means anymore, what it looks like, how the practical application of joining our minds with Christ plays out in our day-to-day, moment-to-moment lives.

It is not a hard gospel.  There is nothing heavy about it.  While its application is natural and comes easily to our real and holy Selves, the ego cannot understand it, cannot do it, and is terrified of the Atonement gospel for it eradicates all lies, all delusions, all false pretenses, and brings together that which can only be held captive when kept apart. 

Practicing the Atonement gospel is simply sharing the whole mind of Christ.  Our whole minds in Christ is the acceptance of what we are in Him – the treasure of God,  the will of God, we are God’s Son even as Christ is His Son.  There is no arrogance in this, no false pride – only deep appreciation and recognition of our true identity as the love of God, as the peace of God, as the joy of God and all the other beautiful virtues and attributes of God which He has bestowed upon us, His Treasure, when He created us as His Son, as His Creation. 

When we know this, we can no longer be bound with shame, with guilt, with egocentric thinking or narcissistic concerns.  The chaotic state of opposites and opposition has nothing to offer us.  The ego has no real substitute for the attributes of God but as those of us who have been taken in by its sorcery, its drives, its lusts, and its temptations – soon come to find out – much like the prodigal son – that we have squandered our selves on that which has no real worth, that which cannot be built upon, that which we cannot take with us on our journey home. 

But does that matter?  The ego would have us go and waste ourselves on that which brings no lasting happiness, love, or peace and then shame us, guilt us, torment our minds with our wrong decisions, our bad choices, the ways in which instead of extending love and joy and peace, we projected our pride, we projected our lust, we tried to take what belonged to another and call it our own.  There is no point thinking that we are any good to God or anybody else in such a state, the ego would tell us.  Sink into depression, drown your sorrows and shame in excess, take yourself out of the picture, the ego says.  But God says:  Come home, My Treasure, My Will, My Son.  Come home! 

We must never forget this because the world teaches a completely different gospel.  The world’s gospel is not good news at all and yet it can blind us to the Atonement gospel of Christ.  The world’s gospel is a destructive gospel, twisted by those who fail to understand Christ and would hold Creation spellbound in its world of opposites and opposition to all truth. 

We will never find joy in the world because we belong to God and His Kingdom and were created by Love, to be loved, and to be love itself.  There is nothing in the world that is worthy of a creation of God for we are created to be eternal and only in the everlasting is our joy. 

The gift of creation is given us, God does not keep anything from us, including the Fatherhood itself for we are created to create.  When I asked Holy Spirit to show me what this means I was shown that love creates love, joy creates joy, peace creates peace by extending itself.  Because we are the attributes of God as His Son, when we extend the attributes that we are to others it creates more love, peace, and joy.  When we extend respect to others, respect is created, and it is extended.  There is not a one of us who are exempt of the eternal attributes of God.  There is not a one of us who cannot create that which created us and thus add to God’s Treasure.

This is not a walk for the ego.  The ego always wants to get its picture in the paper for any little crumb it takes and gives to someone else.  The ego always wants another star in its crown, another way to insinuate itself into someone else’s story.  The ego is sneaky and clever and so we must be very wise to its manipulations and lies. 

Holy Spirit on the other hand asks us to be quiet about what we give, what we do for others, and take no glory, or insinuate ourselves into the lives of others.  Extending our Selves is a natural process that truly is its own reward.  It does not seek the approval of others because what we do as individuals actually belongs to the Sonship.  When I set aside the hours each day to meditate upon, receive understanding and inspiration to write this blog for instance, that time is no sacrifice to me and brings me no personal acclaim or glory, for all power and all glory belong to the Sonship of which I am a part.  My will is God’s Will for I belong to Him and when I extend what I am, I am adding to His Kingdom.  I am not collecting souls to put in my own crown, or to elevate my status in the great beyond.  I am adding to the Treasury of God!  And when I add to the treasury of God and you add to the treasury of God, both of us are enriched beyond measure.

 If I did not understand my function, if I had not accepted my place in the Sonship, I would be tempted to think this was my blog and the result of my efforts.  I would have been tempted to overlook the fact that my husband supports this ministry – I do not have to worry about who pays the bills, who pays for the website, who does not mind when the laundry piles up or the dust collects a bit because Eckie is in her office with the door closed praying and writing and doing that thing she does in there!  If I did not realize my place in the Sonship and my function, I would be tempted to overlook the fact that the insights of our ACIM group inspires and teaches me what I cannot grasp on my own.  I would forget the years that Helen and Bill scribed the Course, looking past their own egos, their own skepticism and unbelief, and just did it because the part of themselves that were real and holy knew that Jesus was answering their request and calling them to enlighten the world.  I would forget the efforts of the Foundation of Inner Peace and the Circle of Atonement which made A Course in Miracles available to the world.   I would not remember the books I have read, the people who have taught me through positive and negative measures that there must be a better way, or the countless plants, animals, and people who sustain my life here in this realm on a moment-to-moment basis.  My ego would have me believe that somehow I do it all on my own and therefore am owed some sort of recompense.  This is how the ego operates.

It is imperative that we remember that we did not make ourselves or our function – we are the Will of God just as our function is the Will of God.  The only decision that the ego would have us make is to be unworthy of both.  But this is impossible!  There can be no question of our worth – no matter what kind of hot mess we have made ourselves out to be.  Our value lies in God and He has established us as His Treasure forever. 

We will stop with paragraph five today and cover paragraphs six through ten in our next blog.  In your personal devotions read over or listen to this lesson as many times as you can today and let the words of Jesus rest in the higher realm of your mind.  Do not be afraid of the world, of the ego, of your past or present woes and limitations.  Make no place in your mind for the illusions of the world and its weird history or its promises that always lead in the opposite direction of our true identity in Christ.  Join with our holy Brother that withstood the crucifixion, relinquished the ego, overcame the destruction of the body, and arose from the dead in all power and glory forever by accepting who you are as God’s Treasure today. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. VI The treasure of God 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8: The Journey Back

V: The Undivided Will of the Sonship

  1. Can you be separated from your identification and be at peace?  Dissociation is not a solution; it is a delusion.  The delusional believe that truth will assail them, and they do not recognize it because they prefer the delusion. Judging truth as something they do not want they perceive their illusions which block knowledge.  Help them by offering them your unified mind on their behalf, as I am offering you mine on behalf of yours.  Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts.  By not being separate, the Mind of God is established in ours and as ours.  This Mind is invincible because it is undivided.
  2. The undivided will of the Sonship is the perfect creator, being wholly in the likeness of God, Whose Will it is.  You cannot be exempt from it if you are to understand what it is and what you are.  By the belief that your will is separate from mine, you are exempting yourself from the Will of God which is yourself.  Yet to heal is to make whole.  Therefore, to heal is to unite with those who are like you, because perceiving this likeness is to recognize the Father.  If your perfection is in Him and only in Him, how can you know it without recognizing Him?  The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.  There is no separation of God and His creation.  You will realize this when you understand that there is no separation between your will and mine. Let the love of God shine upon you by your acceptance of me.  My reality is yours and His.  By joining your mind with mine you are signifying your awareness that the Will of God is one. 
  3. God’s Oneness and ours are not separate, because His Oneness encompasses ours.  To join with me is to restore His power to you because we are sharing it.  I offer you only the recognition of His power in you, but in that lies all truth.  As we unite, we unite with Him.  Glory be to the union of God and His holy Sons!  All glory lies in them because they are united.  The miracles we do bear witness to the Will of the Father for His Son, and to our joy in uniting with His Will for us.
  4. When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours.  Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you.  The truth in both of us is beyond the ego.  Our success in transcending the ego is guaranteed by God, and I share this confidence for both of us and all of us.  I bring God’s peace back to all His children because I received it of Him for us all. Nothing can prevail against our united wills because nothing can prevail against God’s.
  5. Would you know the Will of God for you?  Ask it of me who knows it for you, and you will find it.  I will deny you nothing, as God denies me nothing.  Ours is simply the journey back to God Who is our home.  Whenever fear intrudes anywhere along the road to peace, it is because the ego has attempted to join the journey with us and cannot do so.  Sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative.  You are invulnerable to its retaliation because I am with you.  On this journey you have chosen me as your companion instead of the ego.  Do not attempt to hold on to both, or you will try to go in different directions and will lose the way.  
  6. The ego’s way is not mine, but it is also not yours.  The Holy Spirit has one direction for all minds, and the one He taught me is yours.  Let us not lose sight of His direction through illusions, for only illusions of another direction can obscure the one for which God’s Voice speaks in all of us.  Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey.  It has none because the journey is the way to what is true.  Leave all illusions behind and reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back.  I go before you because I am beyond the ego.  Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego.  My strength will never be wanting, and if you choose to share it you will do so.  I give it willingly and gladly because I need you as much as you need me.[1]

We can not have or be peace and true joy if we have dissociated ourselves from Who is Peace and Joy.  Trying to have anything else or be anything else deludes us and would have us be afraid of what we are, what we were created to be, and the very Source of all which we truly love, yearn for, and are part of forever.  Still, we learn to be afraid of truth and prefer the stories we make up.  And make up stories we do!  We make up stories about God and tell each other of His great anger and spite toward us.  We blame God for the state of the world, which is not God’s Kingdom, but our own fairy tale realm.  We distort the gospel of Jesus and make it seem as if God demanded sacrifice and suffering in His righteous indignation toward His Own creation.  We make up all kinds of rites and meaningless rituals to take the place of seeking and knowing God.   And we go to battle against anybody who dares to question our delusions! 

Jesus calls us to help the deluded by offering them the undivided mind of Christ, even as He offers His mind to us.  Jesus is not a magical being that is set apart from us to worship and adore.  Nor is He replaceable by another symbol.  Jesus is our holy brother.  He is created in the same order that we were created. He is not God; He is the personification of the Sonship.  The only difference between Jesus and us is that Jesus never forgot what He was.  He never split His mind between humanity and His Sonship.  He always knew.  And because He always knew, because Jesus never allowed his body and his ego to delude him, His mind was whole.  His undivided mind gave Him the power and the glory that He offers to us.   

The world inflicted upon Jesus just about everything that separated minds will do to punish those who dare to question its delusions.  He was beaten, spit upon, mocked, and crowned with thorns. He was stripped of his clothing, nailed on a cross for all of His family, followers, and enemies to see.  He was offered vinegar to quench His thirst and ease His pain, humiliation, and suffering.  Through all of that, He did not change His mind about what He was because He knew.  Because He knew that was not the end of His story.  He rose again.  He defeated the ego, He defeated all the ploys and devices of the ego, He stood for truth and in that undivided mind He resurrected to restore the Sonship of God.

The story of Jesus may distress us.  We hate to think of what humanity did to Jesus.  We can project our sorrow about this onto the Romans or the Jews, we can blame it on Judas, we can say oh that would never be us. But what happened to Jesus, happens all over the world when we project our sense of guilt, shame, and sin onto the innocent and justify our terrible revenge upon their bodies, their homes, their cities, their livelihoods.  We can lie to ourselves and say, “But they are not innocent.  They are evil.  They are our enemies.  They stand for all that is wrong, inhumane, selfish, and ignorant.”  But we are all innocent Sons of God, deluded and afraid of the truth, preferring the flesh and blood miscreations of the ego over our everlasting creation in and of God.    

In paragraph two of our text today, Jesus tells us that the undivided will of the Sonship creates as perfectly as God, because it is like God and it is God’s Will for the Sonship to create.  None of us can be exempt from the Sonship. Jesus is not the Lone Ranger.  He is not the Superhero that comes in and saves us with His supernatural skills and maneuvers and is harked by one and all.  Our belief system that worships and adores Jesus yet keeps our will separate from His, thinks of ourselves as different, He the perfect; we the abject sinners, – deny that we, too, are the Will of God.  We deny our healing because we deny our Sonship, for only in the wholeness of Sonship can we be healed.  We can only recognize our true Selves in the Sonship.  We unite with Jesus because we recognize our Selves in Him.  We recognize the perfection we forgot.  Through Jesus we recognize God, and remembering God is remembering our Sonship.  We are not separated from God and His Creation, dear brothers, for that is the lie and entrancement of our hostage taker.

We realize this when we understand that our will and the will of Jesus is one and the same.  We are not here for ourselves alone!  The Love of God shines upon us when we accept Jesus, when we accept His reality as our reality, as God’s reality.  We join our minds with Christ, when we get over the fear of His crucifixion, over the fear of martyrdom, of weakness, of the pansy way in which Jesus has been portrayed.  We join our minds with Christ when we see past the ego’s mean lies about the cost of our salvation, about the punitory God and His call for sacrifice, suffering, and shame.  When we accept Christ, we accept that we are the beloved Son of God, and that our will and the will of the Sonship are one. 

To join with Christ is to restore the power and the glory of God to ourselves because we are part of the Sonship. The wholeness of God and the wholeness of us is not separate, but one.  In the recognition of what we are in Christ, is all truth for as we unite with Christ we unite with God.  There is no glory in any sense of separation, in estrangement, in believing that God is vengeful, volatile, or violent.  Just as no healing, no acts of love, blessing, or everlasting goodwill come from denying Jesus His place in the Atonement.  There is no symbol that would ever stand in the place of Christ for His very mission is to reunite the Sonship with God, to restore the minds of those who have been led astray, to show that death is not the end of our story. 

Every act of love, every time we choose to forgive and forget the hurtful, wrongful deeds of another, every time we refuse to gossip or collect meaningless facts about others and instead respect and love the Sonship as we love Christ, we bear witness that we are the will of God.  Christ is God’s gift to us.  Without Him we are nothing, for without the mind of Christ our individual lives, our divided efforts, our hard work and our sacrifices hold no meaning. 

Make no mistake.  We can be good-enough people without the mind of Christ.  We can refrain from lying, practice wise decision-making, respect our colleagues, give to the poor, love our family and friends, and pay our taxes but in the end, this story ends in death.  We can pretend to be content with that.  We can say oh well, it is what it is, and I have led a wonderful life and tried my best not to hurt anybody.  You may tell this story to yourself and even come to believe it. 

But we do not belong to ourselves.  We belong to God.  We cannot change the truth about our Sonship.  We are the Will of God and His Son and while we have the freedom to choose to disbelieve this for as long as we want, our Sonship does not rely upon our belief in it. 

When we unite with Christ, we come without the fear and denial of this fact.  We put aside all the ego’s lies, perversions, and delusions.  Jesus does not unite with our egos, brothers.  We cannot use Jesus to defeat our enemies or conversely, to bestow special favors for those we love.  When we come to Jesus we renounce the divisiveness, disrespect, and distress of the ego because our truth is far beyond anything that would separate and dispose or oppose any particular one of us.  Transcending this human tendency is guaranteed by God only when we join our minds with the mind of Christ.  The simple recognition that without the mind of Christ we are nothing, restores the prodigal minds of the Sonship to the Kingdom of God where our wholeness, our happiness, our love and peace towards God and one another is certain forever.   

Jesus is the Will of God for you and for me.  Jesus leads us back to God where we belong, and this is God’s Will.  We are not asked to sacrifice.  We are not asked to martyr ourselves.  We are not asked to convert those who are not ready for this journey.  We are simply asked to lay down our egos, for we cannot take its lies, delusions, and oppositions with us on this journey.  This journey takes us to territory dangerous to the ego and to its kingdom.  No longer can this world’s lies and torments control our minds, for we have placed our trust in that which cannot be perceived with its flesh eyes or esteemed by its false values. 

Jesus tells us that we may experience a sense of retaliation and rejection from the lower part of our minds and the lower minds of those who do not walk with us.  Ego-based relationships in our lives will dwindle while our love-based relationships flourish.  The ego will do its best to call us back to its spells; if that does not work it will try to hitch a ride on our spiritual journey.  Do not let it come along!  Jesus is our companion on a direction that does not align with egoistic aims and desires.  Taking our egos with us, making the mistake of thinking of our ego as our little friend will only delay our journey for while Jesus does not compete for our minds nor go to battle against our egos, He has nothing to do with the ego’s nonsense and when we join our minds with Him, neither will we!

Our Holy Spirit has only one direction for our mind and for all minds.  Ego on the other hand separates minds that go every which way but loose.  Scattered in divided directions, we lose sight of the only real direction.  The ego chatter of our lower brains attempts to drown out the Voice for God which is our real and holy Self that abides in the higher mind of Christ.  Jesus cannot and does not force us to join our minds with His, but Jesus does ask us to reach for His Hand for this is our strength, this is our guidance, this is our decision to make.  Turning our backs upon our lower minds and joining with Him gives us the power to overcome any interference from the ego.  Joining with Him we are no longer alone; we have the power and glory of Jesus who died as a human and resurrected as the Son of God to lead our way.  He did not come to earth to restore a few to the Sonship, but to restore all to the Sonship.  And it is not the Sonship without you and without me!    

Let us thank Him today for suffering the crucifixion to demonstrate to us that no amount of pain, suffering, and humiliation can defeat a Son of God for all power and all glory belong to Him as God’s perfect Son. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. V. The undivided will of the sonship. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8: The Journey Back

IV: The Gift of Freedom

  1.  If God’s Will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only this you must be refusing to acknowledge His Will.  His Will does not vacillate, being changeless forever.  When you are not at peace it can only be because you do not believe you are in Him.  Yet He is All in all.  His peace is complete, and you must be included in it.  His laws govern you because they govern everything.  You cannot exempt yourself from His laws, although you can disobey them.  Yet if you do, and only if you do, you will feel lonely and helpless, because you are denying yourself everything.
  2. I am come as a light into a world that does deny itself everything.  It does this simply by dissociating itself from everything.  It is therefore an illusion of isolation, maintained by fear of the same loneliness that is its illusion.  I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  That is why I am the light of the world.  If I am with you in the loneliness of the world, the loneliness is gone.  You cannot maintain the illusion of loneliness if you are not alone.  My purpose, then, is still to overcome the world.  I do not attack it, but my light must dispel it because of what it is.  Light does not attack darkness, but it does shine it away.  If my light goes with you everywhere, you shine it away with me.  The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go.  The remembrance of me is the remembrance of yourself, and of Him Who sent me to you.
  3. You were in darkness until God’s Will was done completely by any part of the Sonship.  When this was done, it was perfectly accomplished by all.  How else could it be perfectly accomplished?  My mission was simply to unite the will of the Sonship with the Will of the Father by being aware of the Father’s Will myself.  This is the awareness I came to give you, and your problem in accepting it is the problem of this world.  Dispelling it is salvation, and in this sense I am the salvation of the world.  The world must therefore despise and reject me, because the world is the belief that love is impossible.  If you will accept the fact that I am with you, you are denying the world and accepting God.  My will is His, and your decision to hear me is the decision to hear His Voice and abide in His Will.  As God sent me to you so will I send you to others.  And I will go to them with you, so we can teach them peace and union.
  4. Do you not think the world needs peace as much as you do?  Do you not want to give it to the world as much as you want to receive it?  For unless you do, you will not receive it.  If you want to have it of Me, you must give it.  Healing does not come from anyone else.  You must accept guidance from within.  The guidance must be what you want, or it will be meaningless to you.  That is why healing is a collaborative venture.  I can tell you what to do, but you must collaborate by believing that I know what you should do.  Only then will your mind choose to follow me.  Without this choice you could not be healed because you would have decided against healing, and this rejection of my decision for you makes healing impossible. 
  5. Healing reflects our joint will.  This is obvious when you consider what healing is for.  Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome.  Separation is overcome by union.  It cannot be overcome by separating.  The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole.  Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition because mind is the mechanism of decision.  It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. My decision cannot overcome yours, because yours is as powerful as mine.  If it were not so the Sons of God would be unequal.  All things are possible through our joint decision, but mine alone cannot help you.  Your will is as free as mine, and God Himself would not go against it.  I cannot will what God does not will.  I can offer my strength to make yours invincible, but I cannot oppose your decision without competing with it, and thereby violating God’s Will for you.
  6. Nothing God created can oppose your decision, as nothing God created can oppose His Will.  God gave your will its power, which I can only acknowledge in honor of His.  If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind.  I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching.  How else can it be if God’s Kingdom is freedom?  Freedom cannot be learned by tyranny of any kind, and the perfect equality of all God’s Sons cannot be recognized through the dominion of one mind over another.  God’s Sons are equal in will, all being the Will of their Father.  This is the only lesson I came to teach. 
  7. If your will were not mine it would not be our Father’s.  This would mean you have imprisoned yours and have not let it be free.  Of yourself you can do nothing, because of yourself you are nothing.  I am nothing without the Father and you are nothing without me, because by denying the Father you deny yourself.  I will always remember you, and in my remembrance of you lies your remembrance of yourself.  In our remembrance of each other lies our remembrance of God.  And in this remembrance lies your freedom because your freedom is in Him. Join, then, with me in praise of Him and you whom He created.  This is our gift of gratitude to Him, which He will share with all His creations, to whom He gives equally whatever is acceptable to Him.   Because it is acceptable to Him it is the gift of freedom, which is His Will for all His Sons.  By offering freedom you will be free. 
  8. Freedom is the only gift you can offer to God’s Sons, being an acknowledgment of what they are and what He is.  Freedom is creation because it is love.  Whom you seek to imprison you do not love.  Therefore, when you seek to imprison anyone, including yourself, you do not love him, and you cannot identify with him.  When you imprison yourself, you are losing sight of your true identification with me and with the Father.  Your identification is with the Father and with the Son.  It cannot be with one and not the other.  If you are part of one you must be part of the other, because they are one.  The Holy Trinity is holy because It is One.  If you exclude yourself from this union, you are perceiving the Holy Trinity as separated.  You must be included in It because It is everything.  Unless you take your place in It and fulfill your function as part of It, the Holy Trinity is as bereft as you are.  No part of It can be imprisoned if Its truth is to be known.[1]    

God’s Will is complete peace and joy.  God’s Will does not waver, His Will is always for our complete peace and joy.  There is not one part of God’s Will that wills that we suffer, that we feel shame, that we feel lonely or helpless.  If that is what we seem to be experiencing we are denying ourselves the Will of God. 

How do we deny ourselves the Will of God?  By offering that which is not His Will to others.  We may take on too much and then get grouchy and tired, distressed and feel the martyr.  This is not God’s Will!  Someone we know and love may be opposed to us.  It may seem as if we will never be able to get past the wall they have built between us.  We choose to be sad, to cry on someone’s shoulder, to take what happens in time and believe that it will drag on forever.  This is not God’s Will.  God does not will for us to feel sad or to despair.  We are to take all our hurts and pains to Him and ask Him to show us how to heal our relationships, how to bear the pain of loss, how to get over the grudges and resentments and spite we have toward those who have hurt us or the ones we love.  Rather than asking Him to fight our battles, and deny ourselves the Will of God entirely, we are to ask God to show us how to love and forgive others, to perceive with the vision of Christ.

For Christ is the light of the world.  Let there be no doubt about this.  For those who want to promote A Course in Miracles and leave Jesus out of it, this would only deny the validity and veracity of the Course itself.  The ego teaches us to dissociate ourselves with everything, to live in an illusion of isolation, and maintain that sense of isolation by keeping us in fear of being alone, stranded, without God and without one another.  Jesus promises to be with us during the whole history of separation.  Jesus gives us His Mind; Jesus gives us His Vision; Jesus gives us Himself.  His purpose is to overcome the world not by force, but by shining His light upon the illusion of madness and freeing our spellbound minds.    

We become Christ even as He becomes us.  Like Christ, we are the light of the world and darkness is dispelled wherever we are.  We cannot abide it, nor can it abide us!  So remember Jesus, for we are one with our holy Brother.  He is the head of the Brotherhood, He is the Sonship personified, He deserves all of our respect, our love, our appreciation for when we remember Him we remember our Father who sent Him to us. 

We were all in darkness until someone shared God’s Will with us.  When any part of the Sonship shares God’s Will it is perfectly accomplished by all.  This is part of the Atonement curriculum and one which is meant to fill us with joy in communion and unity of Spirit.  We simply cannot perfectly accomplish the Will of God off on our own thinking we are God’s elect, collecting followers, and believing we are special.  When I pray for someone and they are healed, I am not a miracle worker alone.  The whole Sonship was involved in this miracle!  The power and the glory is not mine alone.  I am not special, and nobody should think of me as such.  This business of calling each other advanced teachers and masters and God’s anointed is an ego device to pervert the message of oneness and mock the teachings of Jesus who refuses to elevate Himself above us but rather becomes us as we are to become Him. 

As God sent Christ to us, so Christ sends us to others.  When we accept the fact that Christ is with us we deny the world’s denial of Christ and accept the awareness of our Sonship.  We accept that we are the Will of God and this is our salvation.  Christ is the salvation of the world for His purpose was to reunite the Sonship with God. 

Make no mistake that the world needs peace as much as you do!  We cannot receive peace until we share peace with our brothers.  There is no other way to do this, then to take on the mind of Christ.  Healing comes in peace and it comes through Christ who abides as one within our minds and hearts.  Until we practice going within for our guidance and learn to trust in this guidance, to want this guidance, to be certain of this guidance it will have little to no meaning.  Jesus can tell us what to do but it will not help us unless we believe first that it is Jesus telling us what to do and second, that He actually knows what is best for us.  Only until we practice this – learning by doing it right and doing it wrong can we know to choose Him always. 

Healing is a collaborative venture because Jesus tells us what to do but we must choose to follow His guidance.  We cannot be healed without this decision to choose Christ, for to choose Christ is healing and to decide against Him is to decide against healing.  Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome.  Separation is healed by uniting with Christ Who makes us one with the Sonship of God.  The decision to unite our minds with the mind of Christ is one that makes our mind whole and no longer split between our true identity and our false one.  When we know what we are, we are healed.  We accept the power and glory that are ours as God’s Son.  We no longer see ourselves as depraved, depressed, diseased or destined for death – we see ourselves as we were created. 

Our minds are the mechanism for decision.  We can decide for the pain of separation or for the joy of union.  Jesus cannot make this decision for us; our minds are as powerful as His.  This is part of the equality of God’s Son – this is why we can say all things are possible with Christ, but yet Christ will not help us without our collaboration!  Our will is as free as the will of Jesus and God Himself would never go against it. 

Jesus only wills what God wills, but He can offer his power to make our wills invincible!  But never will He oppose our decision, never will He compete for our choice, for this would be violating the Will of God.  If this is difficult for you to understand prayerfully ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you the meaning of God’s Will and why it can never use force, any form of attack, or competition.  God’s Will is freedom and liberty.  It is His Gift to us.  Anything that opposes freedom and liberty is not a gift, but a form of captivity. 

Our humanity is the result of our choice to be something other than God’s Will.  Jesus waits with undying devotion and patience until we want to learn to be God’s Will.  Jesus does not teach us freedom by forcing Himself upon us, by threatening and cursing us, by scaring the living daylights out of us, or shaming us.  The gift of freedom does not come through torture or sacrifice of any kind.  One mind cannot be in dominion over the other minds of the Sons of God – for this is not freedom but bondage.  Freedom cannot be learned by tyranny of any kind. The only lesson that Jesus came to teach was the lesson of oneness, of equality, of every single one of us being the Will of God.

Again, Jesus states very plainly that our wills, and His Will, are the Will of God.  If we believe that God’s Will is outside of us, out in the world somewhere, being held up by something or someone in our life that is keeping us from it, we have imprisoned ourselves with a false belief.  Within that false belief we are nothing – for we are nothing without God’s Will.  Without our love, peace, joy and all the other good things of God which make us His Will we are nothing.  We are an empty shell.  Jesus Himself would be nothing without God just as we are nothing without Christ for He leads us back to our truth! 

When we remember what we are in Christ we remember God.  This is our freedom from the world of pain and suffering, loneliness and despair.  We are no longer at the mercy of our faulty defense systems, our mortal bodies, our weapons of mass destruction, the snobberies and aggressiveness that define human interaction.  When we realize our freedom we naturally join with Christ in praise of God and in praise of the Sonship which He created.  Our gift of appreciation, of gratitude, of praise to God flows joyfully from our thoughts for Him back through the Sonship, the Kingdom, all of Creation for God shares equally what is given to Him. 

Because Jesus offers us this freedom, we offer this freedom to our brothers.  We do not force our love upon others.  We do not wax on to those who have no interest in spiritual matters about the things of God.  We meet people where they are and we talk to them about things that are mutually pleasant, enlivening, fun, and which make for a good time.  We give others the respect and dignity that they deserve as God’s Son no matter what condition we find them in.  By offering others freedom we show appreciation for our own freedom to learn at our own pace and when we are good and ready!

Freedom is creation because it is love.  When we seek to dominate anybody, we do not love them, we do not trust them, we do not respect them, nor can we identify with them.  We imprison ourselves by trying to dominate others.  We may offer a gospel that loses sights of our true identification with Christ and with the Father.  We try to get rid of the baby and keep the bath water, thinking that something good and worthwhile can be found without Christ Who is our only way to oneness with God, with the Sonship, with the Holy Trinity. 

We are used to saying Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as if the trinity is apart from us, as if we are separated from the blessed trinity because of our sin, shame, and guilt – but Jesus tells us today that we are free of illusions about ourselves.  We are restored to our true identity.  Our spirits are holy; we are holy spirit.  As we take our place as part of the oneness of God, as part of the Holy Trinity itself we are no longer imprisoned by lies, by disease, darkness, and death.  God’s Kingdom and the Trinity itself is complete. 

Do not be afraid of this teaching for this is the gift of freedom that Christ offers us. It is why He was born; it is why He allowed Himself to be crucified; it is why He resurrected and showed Himself to His followers and to those of us who seek Him still.  We are One in the Brotherhood of Christ, we are as Christ, as Christ is as us.  Today in your devotional practice, ask your real and everlasting Self, your Holy Spirit to reveal this truth in a way that helps you accept your place in God’s Kingdom as His Will. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. IV The gift of freedom. 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 8 The Journey Back

III: The Holy Encounter

  1. Glory to God in the highest, and to you because He has so willed it. Ask and it shall be given you because it has already been given.  Ask for light and learn that you are light.  If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light and can therefore teach it to you.  There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind.  There is no limit on His teaching because He was created to teach.  Understanding His function perfectly He fulfills it perfectly because that is His joy and yours
  2. To fulfill the Will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced.  When this is accomplished, then, there is no other experience.  Yet the wish for other experiences will block its accomplishment because God’s Will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness.  The Holy Spirit understands how to teach this, but you do not.  That is why you need Him, and why God gave Him to you.  Only His teaching will release your will to God’s, uniting it with His power and glory and establishing them as yours.  You share them as God shares them because this is the natural outcome of their being.
  3. The Will of the Father and of the Son are one, by Their extension.  Their extension is the result of Their oneness, holding Their unity together by extending Their joint Will.  This is perfect creation by the perfectly created, in union with the Perfect Creator.  The Father must give fatherhood to His Son because His Own Fatherhood must be extended outward.  You who belong in God have the holy function of extending His Fatherhood by placing no limits upon it.  Let the Holy Spirit teach you how to do this, for you can know what it means only of God Himself. 
  4. When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter.  As you see him you will see yourself.  As you treat him you will treat yourself.  As you think of him you will think of yourself.  Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.  Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation.  Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself.  For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.
  5. The goal of the curriculum, regardless of the teacher you choose, is “Know thyself.”  There is nothing else to seek.  Everyone is looking for himself, and for the power and glory he thinks he has lost.  Whenever you are with anyone, you have another opportunity to find them.  Your power and glory are in him because they are yours.  The ego tries to find them in yourself alone, because it does not know where to look.  The Holy Spirit teaches you that if you look only at yourself you cannot find yourself, because that is not what you are.  Whenever you are with a brother, you are learning what you are because you are teaching what you are.  He will respond either with pain or with joy, depending on which teacher you are following.  He will be imprisoned or released according to your decision, and so will you.  Never forget your responsibility to him because it is your responsibility to yourself.  Give him his place in the Kingdom and you will have yours.
  6. The Kingdom cannot be found alone, and you who are the Kingdom cannot find yourself alone.  To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego, whose purpose is to defeat its own goal.  The ego does not know this, because it does not know anything.  But you can know it, and you will know it if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you.  This is your responsibility, because once you have really looked at it you will accept the Atonement for yourself. What other choice could you make?  Having made this choice you will understand why you once believed that when you met someone else you thought he was someone else.  And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so. 
  7. You can encounter only part of yourself because you are part of God, Who is everything.  His power and glory are everywhere, and you cannot be excluded from them.  The ego teaches that your strength is in you alone.  The Holy Spirit teaches that all strength is in God and therefore in you.  God wills no one suffer.  He does not will anyone to suffer for a wrong decision, including you.  That is why He has given you the means for undoing it.  Through His power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely, releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds.  Wrong decisions have no power because they are not true.  The imprisonment they seem to produce is no truer than they are.
  8. Power and glory belong to God alone.  So do you.  God gives whatever belongs to Him because He gives of Himself, and everything belongs to Him.  Giving of yourself is the function He gave you.  Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him, and by this you will remember also what you are in Him.  You cannot be powerless to do this because this is your power.  Glory is God’s gift to you because that is what He is.  See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.[1] 

Today Jesus tells us that we share God’s glory because that is the nature of God, to share what He has and what He is.  When we ask for truth, for light, for health and wellbeing – we learn that this is what we already are in God.  Seeking enlightenment and understanding guarantees that we will learn it, because the decision to learn is the decision to listen to Holy Spirit who remembers our light and can therefore teach it to us.  When we accept our worthiness, when we are over our fear of God and have come to know His love and undying devotion to us, there are no limits on our learning because our mind expands like the Mind of God.  Jesus tells us that there are no limits on Holy Spirit’s teachings because being created to teach, teaching is the joyful perfect function of Holy Spirit as it is ours. 

In paragraph two, we learn that joy and peace can only be had by fulfilling God’s Will perfectly.  This is the only function which fulfills us; accomplishing God’s Will is the only experience there truly is.  When I read this today, several different memories surfaced in my mind about my former teachings about “God’s Will.”  I was always taught to seek God’s Will for my life as if it were concealed from me. God would reveal His Will only if I were a good girl, if I stopped loving boys so much, if I stopped making up stories, if I wore dresses that covered my chubby knees, and prayed and read my bible and stopped reading novels.  God’s Will and my will would remain going in two different directions until I stopped questioning the word of God found in the King James version of the Holy Bible, until I spoke in tongues, until I obeyed my mother who had a list of do’s and don’ts that surpassed Mosaic law!  God’s Will was also a slippery thing, it would send you to the places that you expressly did not want to go, which led my sister who had a fear of Africa to use reverse psychology on God Himself and pray to be sent there as a missionary!

In our Course we learn that God’s Will is simply sharing of the love, peace, and joy that is naturally ours because it is God’s.  We meet no other condition than that we seek not to replace His Will with the very things that impede it – for when we choose grudges, conflict, suffering, and sacrifice and try to share that, we are not extending the Kingdom of God.  God has no way to force His attributes on us for love, peace, and joy cannot be found in unwillingness, in force or in constraint.  The moment love, peace, and joy is forced upon a will, it is no longer love, peace, and joy but a law which inflicts limits, becomes complicated, requiring enforcers and a place to inflict punishment upon those who do not comply.  In other words it becomes a device of the ego rather than the Will of God. 

Holy Spirit teaches us that we are God’s Will, the very attributes of God, and being God’s Will, we share in the power and glory of God.  It is only natural to share love and peace and joy because love and peace and joy can only be love and peace and joy when they are shared.  Try to keep love and peace and joy to oneself and it evaporates into a sad, twisted form of egoism that is no good for anybody! 

God’s Will and our will are one because they are shared.  Sharing peace is sharing joy is sharing love.  No matter how you may arrange the attributes of God’s Will, we cannot share a single attribute of God without sharing them all!  This makes a perfect creation by the perfectly created as one with the Perfect Creator.  When we know God as our Father, we know the love that is bestowed upon us as His Son, as His Will and the only way to be His Will is to share the attributes of Sonship outward.  We place no limits on it.  We love because God loves and made us to love and to be love.  We share peace because God made us in peace and for peace and to be peace.  We share joy because God made us in joy to be joyful and to be joy itself.  We are not out of God’s Will just because we are not out on the mission field saving souls.  Stay at home, clean your office, cook meals, feed your ducks, take a walk with your mate, or head off to work each day.  Our only function as God’s Will is to extend love and peace and joy wherever we are and with whomever we find ourselves.  Ask Holy Spirit to reveal this to you and teach you how to do this, for we cannot understand this concept without understanding God. 

So often we will be tempted to think that we are not doing enough for God.  Our egos will send us down many unnecessary paths in our efforts to please Him, to earn our salvation, to share the good news.  My missionary mother would get tired and so cranky, resenting her children, our house, our few acres, animals, and even my dad for holding her back from doing God’s Will.  She could not understand why people were not particularly happy to hear about her visions, her calling, her little mission trips here and there, and the thrill she got from serving Jesus.  It was not until her final days that she realized that she was God’s Will on earth and that her boundless acts of kindness, generosity, benevolence, and goodness that she extended to her family, her nieces and nephews, the people she visited in prison, the hymn sings she held at local nursing homes, her beautiful smile and the deep appreciation that she expressed toward any small favor was the Will of God! 

The ego’s goal is to establish a Kingdom in opposition to God’s Kingdom, but the ego cannot establish an ongoing Kingdom because it opposes love, peace, and joy.  A kingdom which opposes love, peace, and joy – falls to pieces.  The ego cannot understand this, but we can.  A friendship, a marriage, a family, any kind of organization at all cannot last where there is conflict, hatred, and unhappiness.  We were made to be happy!  We were made to get along!  We were made to love one another, have fun together, to enjoy creation as one.  It is our responsibility to recognize how the ego would come between us to keep us apart and then feel victimized and project blame when its schemes always fail. 

When we accept the Atonement we have accepted what we are.  We have accepted that we can never be apart from God.  We have accepted that our brothers are one with us.  Every holy encounter teaches us that oneness is true and separation is not.

God has no need to shame us or make us suffer.  Punishment does not correct mistakes – this is why we have the means to undo every wrong decision we have ever made.  Through the power and glory that God bestows upon us, every wrong is undone completely.  We are set free from every wrongful thought and deed that the Sonship has made.  Wrong decisions have no power because they are wrong, they are not right.  In God’s Kingdom that which is not right is not true.  That which is not true is simply a lie, it has no power because it is not true and therefore does not exist.  Any kind of bondage that wrong decisions seem to produce is not true and are erased from the record.

Practice the power and the glory of God by extending this gift to everyone you meet.  Let bygones be bygones.  Do not bring up the sins and shortcomings of others but extend to them the forgiveness and undoing that God extends to us.  Practice vigilance in extending loving, peaceful and joyful thoughts toward those who oppose you.  When we give of ourselves in this way, we are denying the ego’s opposition to God’s Kingdom which would have us give hatred, bitterness, and spite.  When we give love and peace and joy we remember what we really are in God and realize that we can never be victimized again, because what we are is powerful.  Let us personalize and meditate upon the last two lines of our reading today, asking Holy Spirit to make it real to our minds and hearts:

Glory is God’s Gift to me because that is what He is.  I will see His glory everywhere to remember what I am.

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back III The holy encounter. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 8 The Journey Back

II: The Difference Between Imprisonment and Freedom

  1. There is a rationale for choice. Only one Teacher knows what your reality is. If learning to remove the obstacles to that knowledge is the purpose of the curriculum, you must learn it of Him. The ego does not know what it is trying to teach. It is trying to teach you what you are without knowing what you are. It is expert only in confusion.  It does not understand anything else. As a teacher, then, the ego is totally confused and totally confusing. Even if you could disregard the Holy Spirit entirely, which is impossible, you could still learn nothing from the ego, because the ego knows nothing.
  2. Is there any possible reason for choosing a teacher such as this? Does the total disregard of anything it teaches make anything but sense? Is this the teacher to whom a Son of God should turn to find himself? The ego has never given you a sensible answer to anything. Simply on the grounds of your own experience with its teaching, should not this alone disqualify it as your future teacher? Yet the ego has done more harm to your learning then this alone. Learning is joyful if it leads you along your natural path and facilitates the development of what you have. When you are taught against your nature, however, you will lose by your learning because your learning will imprison you. Your will is in your nature, and therefore cannot go against it.
  3. The ego cannot teach you anything as long as your will is free because you will not listen to it. It is not your will to be imprisoned because your will is free. That is why the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God who coerces you because He shares His will with you. His Voice teaches only in accordance with His Will, but that is not the Holy Spirit’s lesson because that is what you are. The lesson is that your will and God’s cannot be out of accord because they are one. This is the undoing of everything the ego tries to teach. It is not, then, only the direction of the curriculum that must be unconflicted, but also the content.
  4. The ego tries to teach you that you want to oppose God’s Will. This unnatural lesson cannot be learned, and the attempt to learn it is a violation of your own freedom, making you afraid of your will because it is free. The Holy Spirit opposes any imprisoning of the will of a Son of God, knowing that the will of the Son is the Father’s. The Holy Spirit leads you steadily along the path of freedom, teaching you how to disregard or look beyond everything that would hold you back.
  5. We have said that the Holy Spirit teaches you the difference between pain and joy. That is the same as saying he teaches you the difference between imprisonment and freedom. You cannot make this distinction without Him because you have taught yourself that imprisonment is freedom. Believing them to be the same, how can you tell them apart? Can you ask the part of your mind that taught you to believe they are the same, to teach you how they are different?
  6. The Holy Spirit’s teaching takes only one direction and has only one goal. His direction is freedom, and his goal is God. Yet He cannot conceive of God without you because it is not God’s Will to be without you. When you have learned that your will is God’s, you could no more will to be without Him then He could will to be without you. This is freedom and this is joy. Deny yourself this and you are denying God His Kingdom because He created you for this.
  7. When I said, all power and glory are yours because the Kingdom is His, this is what I meant: The Will of God is without limit, and all power and glory lie within it. It is boundless in strength and in love and in peace. It has no boundaries because its extension is unlimited, and it encompasses all things because It created all things. By creating all things, It made them part of Itself. You are the Will of God because that is how you were created. Because your Creator creates only like Himself, you are like Him.  You are part of Him Who is all power and glory and are therefore as unlimited as He is.
  8. To what else except all power and glory can the Holy Spirit appeal to restore God’s Kingdom?  His appeal, then, is merely to what the Kingdom is, and for its own acknowledgement of what it is.  When you acknowledge this, you bring the acknowledgement automatically to everyone, because you have acknowledged everyone.  By your recognition you awaken theirs, and through theirs yours is extended.  Awakening runs easily and gladly throughout the Kingdom, in answer to the Call for God.  This is the natural response of every Son of God to the Voice for his Creator, because It is the Voice for His creations and for His own extension.[1]

In today’s text reading, Jesus tells us that there is a rationale for choice because only one Teacher can teach us truly.  There is the ego, expert only in confusion, and understanding nothing but confusion, and there is Holy Spirit – our one Teacher who does know what our reality is.

Learning fills us with happiness when what we learn follows our natural will and supports the unfolding of what we have and are.  Under the right Teacher we blossom, we look forward to our lessons, there is no fear, no trembling, no competition, or comparison when we learn with love, peace, and joy, by love, peace, and joy, to be love, peace, and joy. When we are taught against our natural attributes of love, peace, and joy our learning imprisons us and attempts to turn us against our very natures.  Instead of blossoming and unfolding into more of what we are, we shrivel, we shrink, we grow distressed and worried and full of doubt.

When our wills are loving, peaceful, and joyful, when our wills are free to be what they really are – the ego cannot teach us a thing because what it offers in exchange is meaningless to us.  Why would we choose its spite, meanness, and poverty of spirit?  Why would we choose its addictions and obsessions and drives for power, control, and dominance which is a denial of free will?  It is not God who takes our wills away from us for God shares His love, His peace, and His joy with us as our natural attributes.  This is what we are – God’s love, peace, and joy, and Holy Spirit teaches us that our will and God’s Will cannot be out of accord because we are God’s Will.  Knowing this frees us from the lies of the ego which have held us captive in fear of God, of ourselves, of each other and of all Creation.  It is not just the direction of the curriculum that must only point to peace for one and all, but also the content of the curriculum must offer peace for one and all.  Without a totally peaceful and loving content, our wills which are one with God’s, would be imprisoned in traps of learning what could never be.  We can study war, we can strategize battle plans, we can choose alliances, we can offer judgment and condemnation – but it will teach us nothing because nobody can learn under such duress.  Distress, sorrow, pain, and suffering is simply against our God-given nature.

Imprisoning the will is not the plan of Holy Spirit because He knows that the will of the Son and the Father are one.  This is how we were created and that is just the way it is.  Imprisoning the will of a Son of God is a lesson in futility for always, in the end, the will of the Son escapes the traps of illusion, lies, and fear.  Holy Spirit, with no coercion, no shame and guilt, no threats of dire punishment – leads us steadily along the path of freedom, showing us how to disregard or look beyond all that would hold us back.  This is how we learn to love, trust, obey, and appreciate the Holy Spirit as our one Teacher.  Always kind, logical, and respectful, using things that make sense and agree with our true natures, Holy Spirit frees us from all that would bind us to striving, contending, and comparing and reminds us of our oneness with God, with one another, and with all of creation. 

Without Holy Spirit we do not know the difference between pain and joy or imprisonment and freedom.  When we believe they are the same, that we must accept the good with the bad, the mean and spiteful with the kind and merciful, the conflict with the peace – we lose our ability to distinguish between right and wrong, sanity and insanity, pain and pleasure, imprisonment and freedom.  We certainly cannot rely upon the part of our mind that taught us that we are to accept opposites and opposition to teach us how to tell them apart and thus be free to choose between one or the other. 

There is only one direction and one goal in the Holy Spirit’s curriculum:  the direction is freedom; the goal is God.  The goal is God because Holy Spirit knows that God’s Will cannot be without us, for we are God’s Will.  When we learn that lesson, when we come to understand that God would never turn His back upon us, oust us from His Kingdom, send us into the darkness, the loneliness, the despair of flesh and blood and bone and gristle, we could no more run from Him than He could run from us.  Our return to our true identity is our freedom and our joy!  If we remain confused about this issue, if we still think that God has a grudge toward us, has made us into flesh and blood to torment us and keep us captive to the flesh body withs its limitations, meanness, and constant calls for attention, if we still deny ourselves as God’s Will and cling to ego’s substitutes for love and peace and joy, we are keeping ourselves imprisoned and denying God His Kingdom because it was created for us and with us only in mind. 

Egos mock our humanity and lay our bodies low.  Egos can inflate themselves within us and puff us up to strut about thinking that we are God’s Gift in the flesh, the anointed one, the charmed, the famous, the most popular.  We can get our jollies discussing other people in a disrespectful way, collecting information about them, judging, condemning, idolizing, doing anything but truly knowing them and truly loving them.  We can form cliques, join clubs, align ourselves with doctrines and tenets of faith that exalt some and abase the rest, but this is not freedom, this is imprisonment.  For what we do to others, how we think about others, what we will for others, is always what we will for ourselves for we are one.  What you wish to happen to me, my brother, is what you wish upon yourself. 

When we accept that our will and God’s Will are one, we accept our oneness with all of creation. We are part of God and nothing can change that – ever.  He created us to be like Himself; we are an extension of God.  We are the will of God and because all power and glory lie within the Will of God, we too are boundless in strength, love, and peace.  We extend forever and all that exists is enfolded within us.  By creating all things, the Will of God made them part of God.  This should not fill us with fear, but with awe and appreciation.  His joy is our joy.  His love is our love.  His strength is our strength.  We will never find this in our humanity, we will never find this promise in the ego, there is no superman or superwoman that can withstand the love, the peace, the joy, the strength of God’s Will.

Holy Spirit appeals to us to restore God’s Kingdom – the Voice for God is within each one of us not because we are sinful, corrupt, and worthless human beings, but because we are the Will of God and the Kingdom of God itself.  Acknowledge this.  For when we acknowledge this we naturally bring everyone with us, because when I acknowledge my own Sonship I automatically acknowledge yours and we both then extend the Kingdom of God. 

Be full of courage and take a stand for freedom.  Do not be afraid for truth not only sets us free but sets free all of those who would oppose it.  Some of the people whom I least expected to understand the concepts of this Course were gladdened by its message.  They say things like, “Oh, I always knew that what they were teaching me could not be true!”  One dear atheistic friend came to see me right before she died, making a tremendous effort. She wanted to let me know that she understood it now, her Sonship, the love of God, the oneness in which He created us to share His Will with us.  The light on her face, the joy in her countenance, the absolute certainty in her freedom as she faced her impending death with no fear was a wonderful testimony to the power of truth to withstand all lies and delusions of the ego. 

Awakening, Jesus says, runs easily and gladly throughout the Kingdom when we answer the call of God in our lives.  It is only natural for us to awaken at our Father’s Voice, for we know His Voice.  It is the Voice of Love.  It is the Voice of Peace.  It is the Voice of Joy.  It is the Voice of the Brotherhood of Christ, the Kingdom of God, the Sonship of God.  It is the Voice that reminds us of what we really are and where we really belong; we recognize it because it is our own. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. II The difference between imprisonment and freedom. 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 8 The Journey Back

I: The Direction of the Curriculum

  1. Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is. This is a prerequisite for knowledge only because those who are in conflict are not peaceful, and peace is the condition of knowledge because it is the condition of the Kingdom. Knowledge can be restored only when you meet its conditions. This is not a bargain made by God, who makes no bargains. It is merely the result of your misuse of His laws on behalf of an imaginary will that is not His. Knowledge is His will. If you were opposing His will, how can you have knowledge?  I have told you what knowledge offers you, but perhaps you do not yet regard this as wholly desirable. If you did you would not be so ready to throw it away when the ego asks for your allegiance.
  2. The distractions of the ego may seem to interfere with your learning, but the ego has no power to distract you unless you give it the power to do so. The ego’s voice is a hallucination. You cannot expect the ego to say, “I am not real.” Yet you are not asked to dispel your hallucinations alone.  You were merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to you. If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your mind for you.
  3. Every response to the ego is a call to war, and war deprives you of peace. Yet in this war there is no opponent. This is the reinterpretation of reality that you must make to secure peace, and the only one you need ever make. Those whom you perceive as opponents are part of your peace, which you are giving up by attacking them.  How can you have what you give up? You share to have, but you do not give it up yourself. When you give up peace, you are excluding yourself from it. This is a condition so alien to the Kingdom that you cannot understand the state that prevails within it.
  4. Your past learning must have taught you the wrong things, simply because it has not made you happy. On this basis alone its value should be questioned. If learning aims at change, and that is always a purpose, are you satisfied with the changes your learning has brought you? Dissatisfaction with learning outcomes is a sign of learning failure, since you did not get what you wanted.
  5. The curriculum of the atonement is the opposite of the curriculum you have established for yourself, but so is its outcome. If the outcome of yours has made you unhappy, and if you want a different one, a change in the curriculum is obviously necessary. The first change to be introduced is a change in direction. A meaningful curriculum cannot be inconsistent. If it has two teachers, each believing and teaching diametrically opposed ideas, it cannot be integrated. If it is carried out by these two teachers simultaneously, each one merely interferes with the other.  This leads to fluctuation, but not to change. The volatile have no direction. They cannot choose one because they cannot relinquish the other, even if it does not exist. Their conflicted curriculum teaches them that all directions exist and gives them no rationale for choice.
  6. The total senselessness of such a curriculum must be fully recognized before a real change in direction becomes possible. You cannot learn simultaneously from two teachers who are in total disagreement about everything. Their joint curriculum presents an impossible learning task. They are teaching you entirely different things in entirely different ways, which might be possible except that both are teaching you about yourself. Your reality is unaffected by both, but if you listen to both, your mind will be split about what your reality is.[1]

Today as we come to our devotional practice, let us be still and in that stillness, ask for peace.  For we can only know God when our minds are in peace.  Peace is established where there is no conflict.  As we come to our holy practice today, ask Holy Spirit to reveal any allegiance that you may have to the teachings of the ego, to its opposition to love and peace and joy, and ask Him to help you make the choice for peace.  The direction of this course is to teach us the state of peace which is required to know God, to be restored to our original state, to stop misusing the laws of God for that which amounts to zilch. 

We live in a state of entrancement.  Jesus does not expect us to deliver ourselves from the hellish realm where what is real seems imaginary and what is fiction seems real.  The ego is not going to expose itself or its mass delusions.  However, Jesus does expect us to evaluate them, to ask what the result is for following the rest of the world into the multitude of paths that seem promising at the outset but always result in sorrow, suffering, and sacrifice.  If we lose our peace, if what the world teaches us leads us to conflict, distress, worries, and loss, Jesus promises us that all of this will be removed from our minds for us.  The ego has no real power over us except the belief in it that we give it. 

Carefully read and meditate upon paragraph three, for Jesus tells us that every response to the ego is a call to war, and war keeps us from knowing God.  Ask Holy Spirit to reveal how you are choosing war over peace in your response to yourself and others, to the world, and to all of Creation.  Ask Holy Spirit to show you how when we perceive others as anything but equals in God’s Kingdom, we are responding to the ego and we have made a call to war.  Do not deceive yourself that you are on the side of what is right and so it is not a call to war to call someone a racist, a sexist, or a hypocrite.  Do not deceive yourself about peace when you are willing that others are cast into a lake of fire if they do not look like you, believe like you do, or go to the same religious institutions that you do.  Having peace, knowing peace, and being peace means that we have no enemies, that God has no enemies, and that our reality can never be found in this realm for it is a lie, an illusion, a result of misusing our inheritance and building a fictional kingdom that has lost the meaning of peace. 

This Course teaches us that those we perceive as opposing us are part of our peace, and if we respond to them in any form of attack, we give up our peace.  We cannot have what we give up, dear brothers.  We cannot call names, say nasty things, remind people of their wrongdoings, or demand that a world built on lies, on strife, on that which opposes love, peace, and joy give us what only belongs to and can be found in God and His Kingdom.  The only way to respond to any call for opposition is not to give up our peace, but to share it!  We are Sons of God, created for God’s Kingdom and by God’s Kingdom.  To make this more real to us, let us say we are Sons of Peace, we are Sons of Love, we are sons of Joy and our true Kingdom is one of Peace, of Love, of Joy.  This other thing we have going on here is alien to our true kingdom, it is alien to our very selves.  Losing peace then is losing our sense of what we are – it throws us into a state of not only conflict, but confusion, distress, and unhappiness. 

If our learning in the world, including our religious doctrines and texts, has not made us happy, Jesus asks us to question the value of what we have learned based upon our unhappiness alone.  What does it profit us to learn the books of the bible, the names of the prophets, the prophecies and the curses, the list of dos and the list of don’ts, if our learning disheartens us?  Knowing all that may make us feel special, give us an elevated sense of importance, entitling us to think of ourselves as more than others, but does it bring us joy?  And if it does not bring us joy, how can we share joy?  And if we cannot share joy, what are we sharing?  Go beyond your fear of punishment, displeasing an ego-made god, or being tormented in hell forever.  Ask yourself these questions in all sincerity and in your longing for truth.

Learning aims at making a change.  Are we happy with the changes our learning has brought us?  If the answer is no, we did not get what we really wanted or needed. 

The outcome of Atonement curriculum is different from the curriculums offered by the world.  If what I have chased after in the world has made me unhappy, has filled me with sorrow, has taught me of inequality, injustice, needless battles, abuse, and violence and I want something else, I have to choose something that teaches me that which fills me with joy, I want to learn what takes me to equality, to mutuality, to fellowship and fun, to getting along and supporting one another, to going in the direction of love and peace and all that brings warmth and goodness. 

To teach me anything that can be built upon, I must have one consistent teacher, not two conflicting ones.  If I learn that I am a flesh and blood creature prone to do evil from one teacher and I learn that I am a spirit and a perfect Son of God from the other, I will not know what I am!  Everything I learn from one teacher will be contradicted by the other.  One day I will do that which honors Sonship, the next I will dishonor it by believing I am little more than a beast, driven by my passions and my id.   Our traditional religious texts teach from this contradictory curriculum – and we are not only confused, but ashamed for we learn of a volatile God who cannot control His temper, holds everlasting grudges against His own Creations; and preens Himself upon praise and worship from His groveling underlings.  

The absurdity of such curriculums must be addressed before any of us can make a real change in direction.  We must go beyond our loyalty to our ancestral traditions, our fear in the curses attached to our religions, our ignorant hopes that we can make it out of here and leave the rest of the ninnies behind and never have to think about them again.  If we want to know God, if we want truth we must come in peace with no conflict.  It is important to note that no matter what curriculum we choose, our reality as God’s Son is not changed, but our minds will be divided, and we will not know ourselves as God’s Son.  We will still be confused about our identity. Sometimes we will extend love, peace, and joy, other days we will project what opposes love, peace, and joy.  We will still be unstable and uncertain.  Only when we become fully aligned with Holy Spirit’s curriculum, can we become teachers of the peace that leads to God. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 8 The journey back. I The direction of the curriculum. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 7 The Gifts of the Kingdom

XI: The State of Grace

  1. The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly because your joy is His.  This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy.  Following Him is therefore the easiest thing in the world, and the only thing that is easy, because it is not of this world.  It is therefore natural.  The world goes against your nature, being out of accord with God’s laws.  The world perceives orders of difficulty in everything.  This is because the ego perceives nothing as wholly desirable.  By demonstrating to yourself there is no order of difficulty in miracles, you will convince yourself that, in your natural state, there is no difficulty at all because it is a state of grace.
  2. Grace is the natural state of every Son of God.  When he is not in a state of grace, he is out of his natural environment and does not function well.  Everything he does becomes a strain, because he was not created for the environment that he has made.  He therefore cannot adapt to it, nor can he adapt it to him.  There is no point in trying.  A Son of God is happy only when he knows he is with God.  That is the only environment in which he will not experience strain, because that is where he belongs.  It is also the only environment that is worthy of him, because his own worth is beyond anything he can make.
  3. Consider the kingdom you have made and judge its worth fairly.  Is it worthy to be a home for a child of God?  Does it protect his peace and shine love upon him?  Does it keep his heart untouched by fear, and allow him to give always, without any sense of loss?  Does it teach him that this giving is his joy, and that God Himself thanks him for his giving?  That is the only environment in which you can be happy.  You cannot make it any more than you can make yourself.  It has been created for you, as you were created for it.  God watches over His children and denies them nothing.  Yet when they deny Him they do not know this, because they deny themselves everything.  You who could give the Love of God to everything you see and touch and remember, are literally denying Heaven to yourself.
  4. I call upon you to remember that I have chosen you to teach the Kingdom to the Kingdom.  There are no exceptions to the lesson because the lack of exceptions is the lesson.  Every Son who returns to the Kingdom with this lesson in his heart has healed the Sonship and given thanks to God.  Everyone who learns this lesson has become the perfect teacher, because he has learned it of the Holy Spirit.
  5. When a mind has only light, it knows only light.  Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty.  The Majesty of God is there, for you to recognize and appreciate and know.  Recognizing the Majesty of God as your brother is to accept your own inheritance.  God gives only equality.  If you recognize His gift in anyone, you have acknowledged what He has given you.  Nothing is so easy to recognize as truth.  This is the recognition that is immediate, clear, and natural.  You have trained yourself not to recognize it, and this has been very difficult for you.
  6. Out of your natural environment you may well ask, “What is truth?” since truth is the environment by which and for which you were created.  You do not know yourself, because you do not know your Creator.  You do not know your creations because you do not know your brothers, who created them with you.  I have already said that only the whole Sonship is worthy to be co-creator with God, because only the whole Sonship can create like Him.  Whenever you heal a brother by recognizing his worth, you are acknowledging his power to create and yours.  He cannot have lost what you recognize, and you must have the glory you see in him.  He is a co-creator with God with you.  Deny his creative power, and you are denying yours and that of God Who created you.
  7. You cannot deny part of truth.  You do not know your creations because you do not know their creator.  You do not know yourself because you do not know yours.  Your creations cannot establish your reality, any more than you can establish God’s.  But you can know both.  Being is known by sharing.  Because God shared His Being with you, you can know Him.  But you must also know all He created, to know what they have shared.  The Kingdom of God includes all His Sons and their children, who are as like the Sons as they are like the Father.  Know, then, the Sons of God, and you will know all creation.[1]

As I read this first paragraph and then stopped to read it again and then again, I was filled with such deep appreciation for A Course in Miracles which speaks of God’s Kingdom and the Holy Spirit in the love and generosity of spirit which is our real spiritual nature.  It is easy to follow the Holy Spirit!  There are not a long list of do’s and don’ts.  There are not curses attached to it.  There are no threats or punishments.  It is joyful; it is loving; it is benevolent and kind – always.  Not just some of the time.  Not just when everybody is acting a certain way.  Not just when people are bowing and offering sacrifices and singing praises and telling God how big and wonderful He is.  All of the time – joyful, loving, benevolent, and kind.  This is our God in Whom we can really trust.  This is our God in which we can be certain.  We can talk about Him without any guilt or shame.  For He is not responsible for the atrocities of this world because He did not make this world or anything in it except the minds that were ensnared by their own fiction. 

When we follow Holy Spirit and learn how natural it is to be joyful, to be loving, to share of our true essence and therefore engage in a process which does not come at all to the ego, we will perform miracles.  One act of love and joy and benevolence is no more and no less than another act because love and joy and benevolence is the state of grace in which we dwell.  Only as we begin to demonstrate this in our daily lives, to practice this state of grace, to offer what we are to others in the form of love, joy, benevolence and all the other attributes of God which are our attributes as well because He created us to be like Him, will we realize how natural and easy it is to accept our true selves, to let them out instead of keeping them hidden inside, to stop being afraid of our true selves.  We live in a state of grace.  We know we can never be lost.  We know Who and What we belong to and we have demonstrated to ourselves that certainty through our practice of loving, appreciative, benevolent thought for all of Creation. 

This is one of most benevolent spiritual teachings in the world.  It is not for some, but for all.  It has not absolved God of His responsibility toward His Creations, because God did not make creations which were beneath Him but beside Him.  Because we are His Sons we cannot be lost forever; we cannot be trapped in an illusion that has no end; ensnared in tales of death.  We have within each one of us a homing device, the Voice for God, which calls us back to our real Selves, to our Father, to see past what seems to be an ongoing, unending stream of bad news to the state of grace, which reminds us of our worth, which reminds us where we really belong, which reminds us that our joy and certainty and bliss is in God Who has never abandoned us and never will.    

In paragraph three, Jesus ask us to consider the kingdom we have made.  Do we keep the Creations of God safe, secure, calm, and loving?  Do we keep the creations of God happy to give always of their true and benevolent natures without fear of loss, of extortion, of spite?  Does this world teach that giving is joyful and that God Himself thanks us for sharing, for extending, to advancing our selves through giving?  Jesus tells us that this is in the only way in which we can be happy for this is the Kingdom which was created for us and for which we were created. 

Until we get past our humanity and the alternate kingdom in which we find ourselves, we will not be able to fathom the Kingdom of God for this kingdom is the opposite of God’s Kingdom. 

This kingdom denies our happiness.  This kingdom makes us work very hard and sacrifice much to have only stabs at happiness.  This kingdom teaches us to hoard, to be selfish, to be suspicious of hidden agendas and ulterior motives when people profess love or express a compliment or practice benevolence. 

Jesus calls upon us to teach God’s Kingdom to the Kingdom with no exception.  We withhold ourselves from nobody; we extend it to all.  The very lack of exception is the lesson.  We will hear no gospel which saves some and leaves the rest behind.  When we realize what we are in God’s Kingdom, we can never turn our backs on the world for we are the attributes of God Himself.  Losing any part of God’s Creation would distress and torment all.  We return to the Kingdom only with this truth in our heart, because we are not bringing our humanity to God’s Kingdom, brothers.  We are not there to practice lust, hoard blessings, or climb ladders of success so we can look down upon those who are lower and crane our necks to see who is ahead.  We are in no competition here for one is for all and all are for one.  Holy Spirit teaches us this lesson and to become the perfect teacher, we must learn it.

When we begin to recognize the Majesty of God in one another, we begin to recognize and appreciate and know our own inheritance.  When we see the equality of God and recognize His gifts in others we recognize our own worth, we realize what God has given us.  It is so easy to recognize this truth because it is immediately clear, and it comes naturally to us.  We have trained ourselves to adjust to the artificial environment of this world where we create walls and barriers in which to guard us from love, acceptance, and appreciation for one another.  Building walls and maintaining guards is stressful and fills us with strain and sorrow.   We think we are protecting ourselves from each other, but what we are doing is driving each other insane.  For we are made of love, of joy, of peace.  We are made to be complete in one another.  As long as I see you as separate from me, I cannot know you and to know you is the only way I can love you.  However, when I can see you not as flesh and blood, but as one with me in Spirit, we begin to remember what we really are and the barriers we have made to obscure the truth come tumbling down.

In the realm of separateness we can never find truth because this is not the place which was created for us or for which we were created. This is an alternate kingdom which is built on lies, on illusions, on fear, and on that which cannot last.  Our flesh eyes see a perceptual world.  Our physical senses experience a physical world.  As long as we identify ourselves with our bodies, we will not know God, we will not know ourselves, and we will not know our creations because we will fail to recognize our brothers who created them with us.  When I asked Jesus to explain to me what He meant by our “creations,” He told me that our creations are our extensions of love, our sharing of joy, our acts of benevolence, and other holy encounters with others.  These extensions literally create more love, more joy, more benevolence, more holy encounters that last forever.  These creations are obscured to us in the flesh because we cannot taste them, we cannot hold them in our hands, we cannot brag about them or strut about with little pieces of gems and metals attached to our clothing to signify what great creators we are.  Easily discounted by the ego, these creations are the only thing that makes us happy, truly pleases God, and increases His Kingdom.  

As long as we deny any part of truth we will not know our creations because we will not know God and we will not know our Selves.  Our decision about our creations and God Himself have no bearing on the truth.  However we can know the truth.  It all boils down to sharing, to get over the idea that our tribe, our culture, our religion, our this or our that holds the keys to the kingdom alone, to get over the us-against-them mentality that keeps us trapped in an alternate state of reality which obscures the truth of God’s Kingdom.

God shared His Being with us so we can know Him.  To know Him we must know each other, we must know all creation, we must know all that was shared.  We must appreciate the whole package – His Sons and all they have created which are also Sons of God.   In your personal devotional habit today – ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you the meaning of this text in a way that will show you how to demonstrate the state of grace in which all of Creation is restored to God’s Kingdom.  Ask Holy Spirit to show your creations to you – to express to your mind the benevolence and thankfulness that God Himself extends to you for your thoughts of appreciation, mercy, kindness, love, and joy that you share with Creation. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 7 The gifts of the kingdom XI The state of grace. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 7 The Gifts of the Kingdom

X: The Confusion of Pain and Joy

  1. The Kingdom is the result of premises, just as this world is. You may have carried the ego’s reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is total confusion about everything. If you really saw this result you could not want it. The only reason you could possibly want any part of it is because you do not see the whole of it. You are willing to look at the ego’s premises, but not at their logical outcome. Is it not possible that you have done the same thing with the premises of God? Your creations are the logical outcome of His premises. His thinking has established them for you. They are exactly where they belong. They belong in your mind as part of your identification with His, but your state of mind and your recognition of what is in it depend on what you believe about your mind. Whatever these beliefs may be, they are the premises that will determine what you accept into your mind.
  2. It is surely clear that you can both accept into your mind what is not there and deny what is. Yet the function God Himself gave your mind through His you may deny, but you cannot prevent. It is the logical outcome of what you are. The ability to see a logical outcome depends on the willingness to see it, but its truth has nothing to do with your willingness. Truth is God’s will. Share His will and you share what He knows. Deny His Will as yours, and you are denying His Kingdom and yours.
  3. The Holy Spirit will direct you only so as to avoid pain. Surely no one would object to this goal if he recognized it.  The problem is not whether what the Holy Spirit says is true, but whether you want to listen to what He says. You no more recognize what is painful then you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit’s main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain. This confusion is the cause of the whole idea of sacrifice. Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego. But you will be sacrificing nothing. On the contrary, you will be gaining everything. If you believe this, there would be no conflict.
  4. That is why you need to demonstrate the obvious to yourself.  It is not obvious to you. You believe that doing the opposite of God’s Will can be better for you. You also believe that it is possible to do the opposite of God’s Will. Therefore, you believe that an impossible choice is open to you, and one which is both fearful and desirable. Yet God wills. He does not wish. Your will is as powerful as His because it is His. The ego’s wishes do not mean anything, because the ego wishes for the impossible. You can wish for the impossible, but you can will only with God.  This is the ego’s weakness and your strength.
  5. The Holy Spirit always sides with you and with your strength. As long as you avoid His guidance in any way, you want to be weak.  Yet weakness is frightening. What else, then, can this decision mean except that you want to be fearful? The Holy Spirit never asks for sacrifice, but the ego always does. When you are confused about this distinction in motivation, it can only be due to projection. Projection is a confusion in motivation, and given this confusion, trust becomes impossible. No one gladly obeys a guide he does not trust, but this does not mean that the guide is untrustworthy. In this case, it always means that the follower is. However, this, too, is merely a matter of his belief. Believing that he can betray, he believes that everything can betray him. Yet this is only because he has elected to follow false guidance. Unable to follow this guidance without fear, he associates fear with guidance, and refuses to follow any guidance at all. If the result of this decision is confusion, this is hardly surprising.
  6. The Holy Spirit is perfectly trustworthy, as you are. God Himself trusts you, and therefore your trustworthiness is beyond question.  It will always remain beyond question, however much you may question it.  I said before that you are the Will of God. His Will is not an idle wish, and your identification with His Will is not optional, since it is what you are. Sharing His Will with me is not really open to choice, though it may seem to be. The whole separation lies in this error. The only way out of the error is to decide that you do not have to decide anything.  Everything has been given you by God’s decision. That is His Will, and you cannot undo it.
  7. Even the relinquishment of your false decision-making prerogative, which the ego guards so jealously, is not accomplished by your wish. It was accomplished for you by the Will of God, Who has not left you comfortless. His Voice will teach you how to distinguish between pain and joy and will lead you out of the confusion you have made. There is no confusion in the mind of a Son of God, whose will must be the Will of the Father, because the Father’s Will is His Son.
  8. Miracles are in accord with the Will of God. Who’s Will you do not know because you are confused about what you will. This means that you are confused about what you are. If you are God’s Will and do not accept His Will, you are denying joy. The miracle is therefore a lesson in what joy is. Being a lesson in sharing it is a lesson in love, which is joy. Every miracle is thus a lesson in truth, and by offering truth you are learning the difference between pain and joy.[1]

God’s Kingdom is founded upon the principles of love, peace, and joy while this world is founded upon the premise of chaos, entropy, and pain.  While there can be no conclusion of God’s Kingdom because it is Spirit which dwells in timelessness, eternity, life everlasting – the conclusion of the world is decay and death. 

It is important to remind ourselves that when Jesus talks about our minds He is not referring to our human brain, He is referring to our spirit, our true and everlasting self.  It is our minds that ego has entranced; it is our minds that have put us in a state of separation and unawareness of God and His Kingdom.  But yet what we believe about our minds determines what we accept into them.

Our minds can believe truth and our minds can believe lies.  And yet our minds belong to God and so no matter what we believe, it does not change this fact.  We cannot separate ourselves from God for we are God’s Will.  We can deny His Will as ours, but when we deny God’s Will we are denying our own will for He created us like Him.  Denying God then is going to lead to pain and confusion – not because God is mean and punishes us and enjoys inflicting pain upon those who do not appreciate and obey Him.  Denying God we deny ourselves what we are – we deny ourselves love, peace, and joy and all the other attributes and gifts of God.  Denying God we have only the ego’s lies, the ego’s substitutes, the ego’s weirdness and insanity. 

The Voice for God is within each one of us.  It does not matter who we are, what country we come from, if we are rich or poor, literate or illiterate, beyond religion, beyond politics, beyond government or any power on earth – Holy Spirit is instilled within each one of us equally.  His guidance will always lead to joy.  Joy however is always painful to the ego and so as long as we are in doubt about what we are, we will not understand the difference between joy and pain. 

This is why it always feels like such a sacrifice to give up things that are not good for us in the first place.  Giving up substance abuse is not a sacrifice but to the ego it is.  Giving up cheating is not a sacrifice but to the ego it is.  Giving up spite is not a sacrifice but to the ego it is.  Obeying Holy Spirit, we give up pain and the only thing we “sacrifice” is the ego which only brings us decay, destruction, and death.  Giving up the ego, we gain everything and lose what amounts to nothing.  Once we come to know this as truth and believe in it, our minds will have no conflict!

When we believe that opposing God’s Will makes things better for us, we believe in an impossible choice.  We desire that which is fearful and painful.  Fear and pain are not God’s Will, they are mere ego wishes.  Ego wishes cannot prevail against the will of God and we are God’s Will.  Created by God and for God, we can only wish for the impossible.   Our wills will never go along with the mere wishes of the ego for our wills are strong in God.    

Holy Spirit always sides with us and our strength in God. If we fail to listen to the Voice for God, we are choosing to be weak, to be afraid, to suffer pain and loss.  Holy Spirit never asks for us to give something up; it is the ego that demands sacrifice.  We are not to confuse this issue, but it happens to us all the time.  We think we are listening to the Voice for God, but it is the clamor of the ego misleading us, asking us to sacrifice our goodness, our love, our peace, and joy in order to make something happen in the world.  Ego loves to befuddle our concept of God, to project its own falseness, untrustworthiness, and confusion upon God.  When we follow the voice which tells us how special we are, how anointed, how much more we know about God than other people do, we are apt to do things that later we regret.  People end up bitter and suspicious about guidance from the Voice for God because they have fallen victim or witnessed others falling victim to listening to the wrong voice. 

However, just because we may have been misled by the wrong voice takes nothing away from the fact that Holy Spirit will always be on our side to make us strong and remind us of what we really are.  Holy Spirit is entirely trustworthy and so are we.  God made us.  He has put His trust in us.  Our trustworthiness is ordained by God.  In my own life, I had to learn that the voice in my head that scolded, lectured, called me names, and woke me up at night with shame and sorrow was not Holy Spirit!  The voice in my head that told me to give up certain foods for God was not Holy Spirit!  The voice in my head that ridiculed and mocked me was not Holy Spirit! 

Holy Spirit is the quiet inner voice which speaks to us of our strengths and goodness.  Holy Spirit never tells us that we are more than or less than other people, but rather reminds us that we are God’s Will, that we are not flesh and blood but Spirit with the spiritual qualities of God.  We are not personalities, we are not our moods, we are not our likes and dislikes, we are not our physical forms – we are love, we are joy, we are peace.  We are the Will of God.  This is something that nobody can take from us nor can we ever lose.  It goes beyond any choice or decision that we can make – it is just a fact. 

When we realize that we really have no say about what we are, we can be free of the ego who tells us that we can choose.  No matter how much we may wish that we do not belong to God, our Sonship was accomplished by His Will.  No matter how far our wish to not belong to God and His Kingdom may seem to take us, the Voice for God within each one of us knows the difference between pain and joy and will lead us out of any confusion we may find ourselves in!  For there is nothing but certainty and knowledge in God’s Will. 

These concepts may be difficult to grasp but they are very real ideas that will free your mind from the doctrines that would teach that we are unworthy, that we are hopeless dirtbags, that we are underlings in God’s Kingdom.  The ego has projected its own wishes upon our theological doctrines making God out to be a physical entity that goes to battle against His Creations, keeps us in state of fear and trembling, and saves some while punishing the many.  The ego sanctions all sorts of atrocities against flesh and blood and calls itself God.  This confuses us about not only who God is but what we are as His Creations. 

Miracles are in harmony with God’s Will!  As God’s Will, you have joy.  In God’s Kingdom to have is to be and so to have joy is to be joy.  The miracle, Jesus says, is a lesson in what joy is.  Pay particular attention to the logical conclusion of this premise for it is the way in which we demonstrate an extraordinary life in the otherwise dreary world of perception.  We are to share joy to become joy.  When we share, we love.  And love is joy.  Love and joy are truth for love and joy are virtues that expand and extend outward forever.  When we offer this truth, we learn the difference between pain and joy. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 7 The gifts of the kingdom X The confusion of joy and pain. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 7 The Gifts of the Kingdom

IX: The Extension of the Kingdom

  1. Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it. He no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations then He wills to deprive Himself of His. Do not withhold your gifts to the Sonship or you withhold yourself from God! Selfishness is of the ego, but Self-fullness is spirit because that is how God created it. The Holy Spirit is in the part of the mind that lies between the ego and the spirit, mediating between them always in favor of the spirit. To the ego this is partiality, and it responds as if it were being sided against. To spirit this is truth, because it knows its fullness and cannot conceive of any part from which it is excluded.
  2. Spirit knows that the awareness of all its brothers is included in its own, as it is included in God. The power of the whole Sonship and of its Creator is therefore spirit’s own fullness, rendering its creations equally whole and equal in perfection. The ego cannot prevail against the totality that includes God, and any totality must include God. Everything He created is given all His power, because it is part of Him and shares His Being with Him. Creating is the opposite of loss, as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice. Being must be extended.  That is how it retains the knowledge of itself. Spirit yearns to share its being as its Creator did. Created by sharing, its will is to create. It does not wish to contain God, but wills to extend Him.
  3. The extension of God’s Being is spirit’s only function. Its fullness cannot be contained, anymore than can the fullness of its Creator. Fullness is extension. The ego’s whole thought system blocks extension, and thus blocks your only function. It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled. Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment and therefore you must create. You may not know your own creations, but this can no more interfere with their reality than your unawareness of your spirit can interfere with its being.
  4. The Kingdom is forever extending because it is in the mind of God. You do not know your joy because you do not know your own Self-fullness. Exclude any part of the Kingdom from yourself and you are not whole.  A split mind cannot perceive its fullness and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it. This reawakens the wholeness in it and restores it to the Kingdom because of its acceptance of wholeness. The full appreciation of the mind’s Self-fullness makes selfishness impossible and extension inevitable.  That is why there is perfect peace in the Kingdom. Spirit is fulfilling its function, and only complete fulfillment is peace.
  5. Your creations are protected for you because the Holy Spirit, who is in your mind, knows of them and can bring them into your awareness whenever you will let Him. They are there as part of your own being because your fulfillment includes them. The creations of every Son of God are yours, since every creation belongs to everyone, being created for the Sonship as a whole.
  6. You have not failed to increase the inheritance of the Sons of God, and thus have not failed to secure it for yourself.  Since it was the will of God to give it to you, He gave it forever.  Since it was His will that you have it forever, He gave you the means for keeping it. And you have done so. Disobeying God’s will is meaningful only to the insane. In truth it is impossible. Your Self-fullness is as boundless as God’s. Like His, it extends forever and in perfect peace. Its radiance is so intense that It creates in perfect joy, and only the whole can be born of Its wholeness.
  7. Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace. Miracles are an expression of this confidence. They are reflections of both your proper identification with your brothers, and of your awareness that your identification is maintained by extension. The miracle is a lesson in total perception.  By including any part of totality in the lesson, you have included the whole.[1]

In today’s text, Jesus tells us that we can limit our creative power by being selfish.  In this world we feel as if creativity is a special gift given to special people who can create great works of art, music, design, or literature.  While creatives seem to be unique and set apart from the rest of us in the ego realm, all of us are made by the extension of God, Who made to us express and to be Love, Peace, and Joy and all His other wonderful attributes. These are not only God’s attributes, but they are also our attributes.  We learn to recognize God’s attributes and ourselves when we express them.  We fail to recognize ourselves and God when we withhold love, peace, and joy from any part of creation.

The ego will put up as many barriers as it can to limit the extension of God’s Kingdom.  It will get us to make fun or dislike those who have deformities, to feel as if people who need more attention, care, and resources have no right to inflict their excessive needs upon the rest of us, to believe that they have no right to be born.  The ego will get us to make bargains with others; getting into selfish, bean-counting, tit-for-tat relationships that keep careful records of what goes out and what comes in rather than the freedom and liberty of creation which creates for the sheer joy, pleasure, and goodwill involved in sharing of Itself. 

Holy Spirit mediates between the ego and our true, spiritual Identity. Holy Spirit naturally favors our true Identity which ego takes as having been sided against.  While we are still conflicted about who and what we are, our egos will put up a terrible stink about being sided against.  It will resist the extension of the Kingdom, but our true Identity will know the truth about what is right and what is wrong.  Our true Identity knows that we cannot withhold God’s Kingdom from any part of the Sonship, no matter how the perceptual world may twist and distort the Sons of God in the ego’s efforts for us to limit our love. 

Spirit, which is our true Identity, knows its fullness only in the whole of Creation.  Spirit remembers Creation’s perfection, its completeness, its equality.  The ego simply cannot prevail against the totality of God, the unbelievable beliefs in division, separateness, specialness, selfishness, opposites absolutely have no strength compared to God who creates by sharing all power, by bestowing Everything that He is upon His own creations.  Creating is the opposite of taking away. Creating is the opposite of loss just as blessing is the opposite of sacrifice.  We have been taught that if we want God’s blessing we must sacrifice something which we deem of value in order to get our requests from God.  This may be the way to bargain in the perceptual world, but this is part of the unbelievable belief system of this world. 

We must share of ourselves to be as God for we were created to share, and this is the way to create.  In the world we create with physical media – in the Spirit we create with the virtues of God.  This is how we find our true Selves.  If we think we can hoard the attributes of God, rather than share them; if we think we can use the attributes of God to bargain for life’s goodies; if we think that we can go through life loving one part of the Sonship and despising another, we are limiting our creativity through our lack of understanding of God and our Identity in Him.

When we lack joy, when we feel unfulfilled, when we feel depressed and ill, let us remember that the ego’s whole thought system blocks our creativity – it blocks our only function in the world.  We will never find fulfillment in selfish pursuits; we were created to create, and this is what we must do.  Jesus tells us that whether ego has blocked our awareness of this or not, we are all creators because no matter who we are, we have shared of our true selves with others.  Every single bit of goodness we have shared is being held for us, not against us.  The ego will never convince God of our unworthiness or our failure to extend His Kingdom. We are not to let the ego convince us of anything less than our great worth to God and His Kingdom. 

Today ask Holy Spirit to fill you with confidence in your Identity as God’s Son.  Ask Him to help you remember the goodness you have shared which maintains your Identity in Him.  Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this reading to you so that you may understand that who and what you really are is the extension of God and that the love, the joy, the peace and goodwill you extend to others is the expression of this confidence. As we reflect the attributes of God to our brothers, forget the ego’s twisted version that would tell us we are unworthy, we have failed, we are beyond redemption.  Let us remember our true Selves.  Whether we feel like it or not, today ask Holy Spirit to show you how to share miracles for miracles are lessons in total perception.  Each time we deny the ego’s response to our brothers and share thoughts of empathy, acts of kindness, appreciation, and goodness, we are extending it to all of the brothers.  We are teaching to learn and learning to teach.  This is the extension of God’s Kingdom and it starts with my love for you and your love for me and moves outward, always increasing and never decreasing.  This is the promise of God.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 7 The gifts of the kingdom. IX The extension of the kingdom. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 7: The Gifts of the Kingdom

VIII: The Unbelievable Belief

  1. We have said that without projection there can be no anger, but it is also true that without extension there can be no love. These reflect a fundamental law of the mind, and therefore one that always operates. It is the law by which you create and were created. It is the law that unifies the Kingdom and keeps it in the mind of God.  To the ego, the law is perceived as a means of getting rid of something it does not want. To the Holy Spirit, it is the fundamental law of sharing, by which you give what you value in order to keep it in your mind. To the Holy Spirit it is the law of extension. To the ego it is the law of deprivation. It therefore produces abundance or scarcity, depending on how you choose to apply it. This choice is up to you, but it is not up to you to decide whether or not you will utilize the law. Every mind must project or extend, because that is how it lives, and every mind is life.
  2. The ego’s use of projection must be fully understood before the inevitable association between projection and anger can be finally undone. The ego always tries to preserve conflict. It is very ingenious in devising ways that seem to diminish conflict, because it does not want you to find conflict so intolerable that you will insist on giving it up. The ego therefore tries to persuade you that it can free you of conflict, lest you give the ego up and free yourself. Using its own warped version of the laws of God, the ego utilizes the power of the mind only to defeat the mind’s real purpose. It projects conflict from your mind to other minds, in an attempt to persuade you that you have gotten rid of the problem.
  3. There are two major errors involved in this attempt. First, strictly speaking, conflict cannot be projected because it cannot be shared. Any attempt to keep part of it and get rid of another part does not really mean anything. Remember that a conflicted teacher is a poor teacher and a poor learner.  His lessons are confused, and their transfer value is limited by his confusion. The second error is the idea that you can get rid of something you do not want by giving it away. Giving it is how you keep it. The belief that by seeing it outside you have excluded it from within is a complete distortion of the power of extension. That is why those who project are vigilant for their own safety. they are afraid that their projections will return and hurt them. Believing they have blotted their projections from their own mind, they also believe their projections are trying to creep back in. Since the projections have not left their minds, they are forced to engage in constant activity in order not to recognize this.
  4. You cannot perpetuate an illusion about another without perpetuating it about yourself. There is no way out of this because it is impossible to fragment the mind. To fragment is to break into pieces, and mind cannot attack or be attacked. The belief that it can, an error the ego always makes, underlies its whole use of projection. It does not understand what mind is, and therefore does not understand what you are. Yet its existence is dependent on your mind because the ego is your belief. The ego is a confusion in identification. Never having had a consistent model, it never developed consistently. It is the product of the misapplication of the laws of God by distorted minds that are misusing their power.
  5. Do not be afraid of the ego. It depends on your mind, and as you made it by believing in it, so you can dispel it by withdrawing belief from it. Do not project the responsibility for your belief in it onto anyone else, or you will preserve the belief. When you are willing to accept sole responsibility for the ego’s existence you will have laid side all anger and all attack, because they come from an attempt to project responsibility for your own errors. But having accepted the error as yours, do not keep them. Give them over quickly to the Holy Spirit to be undone completely, so that all their effects will vanish from your mind and from the Sonship as a whole.
  6. The Holy Spirit will teach you to perceive beyond your belief, because truth is beyond belief and His perception is true. The ego can be completely forgotten at anytime because it is a totally incredible belief, and no one can keep a belief he has judged beyond believable. The more you learn about the ego, the more you realize that it cannot be believed. The incredible cannot be understood because it is unbelievable. The meaninglessness of perception based on the unbelievable is apparent, but it may not be recognized as being beyond belief, because it is made by belief.
  7. The whole purpose of this course is to teach you that the ego is unbelievable and will forever be unbelievable. Yet you who made the ego by believing the unbelievable cannot make this judgment alone. By accepting the Atonement for yourself, you are deciding against the belief that you can be alone, thus dispelling the idea of separation and affirming your true identification with the whole Kingdom as literally part of you. This identification is as beyond doubt as it is beyond belief. Your wholeness has no limits because being is infinity.[1]

In God’s Kingdom, we share what we have in order to keep it for ourselves.  This is the fundamental law of extension in the Spirit.  We follow this law by sharing the attributes of God – the love, joy, and peace of the Kingdom – which produces an abundance of love, joy, and peace.  The more I share love with you, the more love I will reproduce.  The more joy I share, the more joy we will both have and be.  The same with peace or any other gift of God.  We all use this law because our mind was created to extend for our thoughts are limitless; our thought spring from an everlasting source, and sharing is its life.  Our mind cannot keep anything for itself alone for in Holy Spirit we are connected with every other mind which gives us unlimited and everlasting power. 

The everlasting law of extension undoes the illusions of the ego.  The ego’s defense against the law of extension is to keep the awareness of who and what we are to God and His Kingdom hidden from our perception.  The ego tells us that we are sinners, we are shameful, we are unworthy of love, peace, and joy and every other attribute of God and His Kingdom.  We are not God’s Son; we are flesh and blood.  We are selfish, pathetic grubs scrounging for existence, destructible, and disease-ridden.  Therefore, we have no love to share, no joy to share, no peace to share, because what little we have, we need to keep for ourselves alone.  We are sinners, ego tells us; we are shameful, we are unworthy of God and His Kingdom because we are bad, disobedient, and headstrong.

Believing these things about ourselves is hard to take.  Sure we may make mistakes; we may not live up to our potential; our bodies do fail us; and we are not exactly saints – but are we really all that bad?  We know in our heart of hearts, in the highest and most intelligent part of our minds, that the ego’s lies about us simply cannot be true.  After all we are created beings; we did not make ourselves; we hardly deserve punishment for that which we do not understand. We must be worthy; there must be something good and loving and true about us.  Sooner or later all the ego’s lies about us will become so tiresome that we will stop believing in them.  So the ego, losing its hold upon our minds, twists the law of extension to one of projection.  If ego cannot get us to believe its lies about ourselves, it will get us to project its lies about us onto others.  We will talk about their sins.  We will dwell upon their stupidity.  All of our own angst, despair, sorrow, and shame we will put on others and declare them to blame.  This is a fun, gratifying, time-extending game for the ego which opposes all that is timeless and forever. 

As long as the Sons of God are busy projecting, getting caught up in perceptual world’s political, religious, social, and personal battles – going to war against each others’ bodies, shouting and calling names and flinging accusations about from right to left back to right again – they will not remember who and what they really are nor will they realize the real problem.  This perverted use of the law of extension not only wreaks havoc in every relationship and every interaction and every circumstance; it keeps us from knowing our true and eternal identity as everlasting peace, unlimited love, and never-ending joy.  It is very important that we understand the ego’s use of projection so that it can be undone in our lives.  We must stop practicing it, so that we teach only the law of extension – for we must know what the real conflict is and how to undo it. 

Projection makes two major mistakes.  First of all when there is a conflict, it cannot be shared in any meaningful sense of the word.  Conflicted teachers give conflicting messages.  When we project our thoughts of sin and shame and unworthiness to those who go to a different church or do not go to church at all, when we think of ourselves as in any way different from others, we are not thinking with the right mind.  There is absolutely nothing about me that sets me apart from you except in a physical, perceptual world.  If I believe that I am going to heaven and you are going to hell, I cannot really share this with you or anyone else, because this could be reversed at any given time.  There is no certainty involved in it.  There is nothing about this message that you will receive because there is no harmony, no love, no happiness.  I could never be happy in heaven without you, brother nor could you be happy without me.

The second mistake is the idea that I can get rid of something I do not want by putting it on you.  Giving it away is how I keep it!  When I see you as the culprit, I see myself as guilty.  I cannot escape this. I may think I am making myself safe by projecting that you are the sinner, and I am the saint; that you are at fault and I am blameless; that you believe fallacy and I believe truth – but the thoughts and judgments I hold toward you, I keep for myself.  This becomes an ongoing struggle because the more I project my conflicts upon you, the more persecuted I am going to think I am by exactly what I project upon you.  We have all been around people who cannot seem to stop ruminating upon the evildoing and failures of others – it is this constant activity ego provides to keep us from becoming aware of the real problem.

In paragraph four Jesus tells us that we simply cannot maintain another’s guilt without maintaining our own.  It is impossible to fragment the mind.  We are whole and complete; the ego would have us believe that we are broken into separate pieces, making it possible to attack another mind, but what I wish upon you, I receive for myself and vice versa.  Ego fails to understand our minds; nor does it understand our true being.  And yet its illusions depend on our minds because the only way it exists is our belief in separation, confusing our identity, misusing and misapplying the laws of God. 

We have nothing to fear from the ego – it is a lie, and we are not obligated, nor can we be forced to uphold it with our belief.  Jesus tells us not to blame anybody else for our ego but rather to take sole responsibility for making it and believing in it.  This means we can no longer blame our parents, churches, childminders, teachers, or God Himself.  We cannot hold anything at all in the perceptual world accountable for how we got here or how we ended up.  Until we stop projecting all anger and attack we are not taking responsibility for our own mistakes.  This is something we must all do for ourselves because only then can we give our belief in and practice of the unbelievable belief over to Holy Spirit to be purged completely from the effects it had upon our mind and upon the mind of the whole Sonship.

The purpose of this course is to teach us that the ego and the perceptual world is too unbelievable to ever believe.  The more we learn about them the more we realize the truth.  The perceptual world has no meaning because it is based upon the ego which gives us nothing but conflict, separateness, and death.  However, we are not able to make this judgment on our own.  When we accept Holy Spirit’s great undoing of the ego belief system we are dispelling the separation.  We are recognizing that we are not flesh and blood, we are not egos, you are not separate from me and I am not separate from you.  For our true identity is in God and His Kingdom.  When we identify as God’s Son we recognize ourselves as not only having the virtues of God but being the infinite and unlimited virtues of God.  No more doubt.  No more need for belief.  This is as certain as God Himself.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 7 The gifts of the kingdom. Section VIII The unbelievable belief. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 7: The Gifts of the Kingdom

VII: The Totality of the Kingdom 7-11

7. One child of God is the only teacher sufficiently worthy to teach another.  One Teacher is in all minds and He teaches the same lesson to all.  He always teaches you the inestimable worth of every Son of God, teaching it with infinite patience born of the infinite Love for which He speaks.  Every attack is a call for His patience since His patience can translate attack into blessing.  Those who attack do not know they are blessed.  They attack because they believe they are deprived.  Give, therefore, of your abundance, and teach your brothers theirs.  Do not share their illusions of scarcity, or you will perceive yourself as lacking.

8. Attack could never promote attack unless you perceived it as a means of depriving you of something you want.  Yet you cannot lose anything unless you do not value it, and therefore do not want it.  This makes you feel deprived of it, and by projecting your own rejection you then believe that your brother is attacking you to tear the Kingdom of Heaven from you. This is the ultimate basis for all the ego’s projection.

9. Being the part of your mind that does not believe it is responsible for itself, and being without allegiance to God, the ego is incapable of trust.  Projecting its insane belief that you have been treacherous to your Creator, it believes that your brothers, who are as incapable of this as you are, are out to take God from you.  Whenever a brother attacks another, that is what he believes.  Projection always sees your wishes in others.  If you choose to separate yourself from God, that is what you will think others are doing to you.

10. You are the Will of God.  Do not accept anything else as your will, or you are denying what you are.  Deny this and you will attack, believing you have been attacked.  But see the Love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere.  See His abundance in everyone, and you will know that you are in Him with them.  They are part of you, as you are part of God.  You are as lonely without understanding this as God Himself is lonely when His Sons do not know Him.  The peace of God is understanding this.  There is only one way out of the world’s thinking, just as there was only one way into it.  Understand totally by understanding totality. 

11. Perceive any part of the ego’s thought system as wholly insane, wholly delusional, and wholly undesirable, and you have correctly evaluated all of it.  This correction enables you to perceive any part of creation as wholly real, wholly perfect, and wholly desirable.  Wanting this only you will have this only and giving this only you will be only this.  The gifts you offer to the ego are always experienced as sacrifices, but the gifts you offer to the Kingdom are gifts to you.  They will always be treasured by God because they belong to His beloved Sons, who belong to Him.  All power and glory are yours because the Kingdom is His. [1]

We are here to teach one another; we are worthy teachers to one another; and all of us have the same Holy Spirit within us which teaches us the same lesson. If we lean toward any other voice that tells us that we are not worthy and beloved Sons of God, if we heed a voice that scolds, lectures, and shames, who puts undue burdens upon us and makes our walk with God seem tedious, stressful, or heavy in any way, we are not listening to the Voice for God.  For God’s Voice within each one of us is one of infinite Love.  Attack does not call for attack, but for patience because Holy Spirit interprets all attack into blessing.  All attack comes from feelings of being deprived – so Jesus tells us to give of our abundance and teach abundance to others.  We are not to share any illusions of scarcity, limitation, or lack in others, but to remind our brothers of their abundance, to show them how to recognize the reality of their blessings. 

This was a mistake that I often made thinking that I was being “nice” to people by listening to all their complaints, tsking over the perceived wrongs that they suffer at the actions of others and agreeing with them about their ill treatment.  I would give them what seemed like reasonable advice on how to protect themselves from those who were mean, spiteful, jealous, and untrustworthy.  But Jesus tells us that when others attack us they feel as if someone has deprived them, which cannot be true in any eternal sense of the word. We are not to agree with their wrong perception, because if we agree with their wrong perception, it would be like jumping in the raging sea of nothingness with them instead of pulling them out to the reality of certain safety and peace.

Just as agreeing with someone’s tale of woe is never the answer, so attack is never the correct response to attack of any kind.  Nobody can take anything that has true value away from us unless we do not want it anymore.  So when we let thoughts of attack justify attacking others in return, we think it is okay to throw away who and what we are in God and become the version of us that the ego projects upon us. 

We needlessly get ourselves worked up into caricatures of the ego’s making when we identify with the ego’s untrustworthiness and forget our allegiance to God.  We always feel bad about this afterwards, ashamed of our lack of warmth, love, wisdom, and graciousness, embarrassed by our temper tantrums, our selfishness, our ignorance, our spite which the ego projects upon us and project it upon others.  Jesus tells us in paragraph nine that projection always sees our wishes in others.  When we choose to separate ourselves from the God in us, we will blame others for doing it to us.

How does this play out in our daily lives?  A personal example in my own life bears sharing.  When I play along with the ego’s game plan, my mind can easily find plenty of reasons for choosing to be grumpy, ill-mannered, and ungracious.  I am grumpy because James forgot to get the coffee ready last night even though this is not really his job – when I get up in the morning and the coffee is not ready to go, the ego will encourage me to pity myself – oh if I do not get the coffee ready the night before nobody else thinks of doing it, ever.  Poor little me.  If I fail in exhibiting good manners when I am out with my friends and talk over people, interrupt others while they are still talking, brag about my accomplishments, or make fun of other people, it is not my fault!  It is because my friends do all that and to be part of their group, I must also engage in bad behavior, or they will think of me as a priss and party-pooper.  If I am ungracious toward a guest it is always because they were ungracious to me, never reciprocated all my past kindnesses and so they do not deserve my graciousness because they overstay their welcome, do not pick up after themselves, or any of a host of other reasons that the ego can use to get me to throw away God’s Kingdom.

We may think that it is a strong term to say God’s Kingdom is my good cheer, goodwill, good manners, and graciousness, but these attributes make up the Kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God is a spiritual realm where we do not only possess attributes, we are them.  When we throw these attributes away because of some perceived injustice or attack in the world, we are literally throwing away God’s Kingdom within us.  We are choosing to go with the ego’s story of us – pathetic little whiners, weasels, and wimps at the mercy of other pathetic little whiners, weasels, and wimps, simpletons all, rather than who and what we are in and as God’s Kingdom.

When we do not accept this about ourselves, we are denying God’s Will in our lives.  God’s Will is not what we are going to wear today, eat today, or go today.  God’s Will is that we are His Attributes, His Sons, His Gifts.  Denying this, we will fall into the traps of ego – we will attack part of the Sonship and not realize that we are attacking all of it! 

But see that we are the Love of God, and we will see it everywhere.  We will see His abundance in ourselves as we see it in everyone.  We will know each other as one in God.  It is important for us to realize this, to understand this, for we will be lonely as God is lonely when we do not know Him in totality.  Herein lies our peace for it is the peace of God.  Ask Holy Spirit to awaken your mind and help you understand totally by understanding totality.  This may go against all our traditional religious instruction which divides us into different belief systems, different names for God and for His Son, and casts blights and curses upon others who do not believe like us, legitimizing attack upon each other rather than the totality of God’s Kingdom. 

When we understand that any part of the ego’s thought system is irrational and not the least bit desirable, we have rightly understood all of it.  This helps us perceive that the opposite is also true – that when we see any small part of creation as real, perfect, and completely desirable, our minds will be open to see that this is the truth about all of creation.  When we want only this, we will have only this, and when we have only this, we give only this, and when we give only this, we become only this. This is how God’s Kingdom is restored to our awareness and becomes real to us once again. 

Pay homage to the ego, and it will cost us time, money, effort, and a sense of sacrifice for the ego demands sacrifice.  But when we share the attributes of God, the attributes of God are restored to us.  Our gifts are treasured by God because they belong to His Sonship who belong to Him.  All power and glory are ours because the Kingdom is God’s, and we are part of His Kingdom. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 7 The Gifts of the Kingdom VII The totality of the kingdom 7-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 7: The Gifts of the Kingdom

VII: The Totality of the Kingdom 1-6

  1. Whenever you deny a blessing to a brother, you will feel deprived, because denial is as total as love.  It is as impossible to deny part of the Sonship as it is to love it in part.  Nor is it possible to love it totally at times.  You cannot be totally committed sometimes.  Denial has no power in itself, but you can give it the power of your mind, whose power is without limit.  If you use it to deny reality, reality is gone for you.  Reality cannot be partially appreciated.  That is why denying any part of it means you have lost the awareness of all of it.  Yet denial is a defense, and so it is as capable of being used positively as well as negatively.  Used negatively it will be destructive because it will be used for attack.  But in the service of the Holy Spirit, it can help you recognize part of reality, and thus appreciate all of it.  Mind is too powerful to be subject to exclusion.  You will never be able to exclude yourself from your thoughts.  
  2. When a brother acts insanely, he is offering you an opportunity to bless him.  His need is yours.  You need the blessing you can offer him.  There is no way for you to have it except by giving it.  This is the law of God, and it has no exceptions.  What you deny you lack, not because it is lacking, but because you have denied it in another and are therefore not aware of it in yourself.  Every response you make is determined by what you think you are, and what you want to be is what you think you are.  What you want to be, then, must determine every response you make.
  3. You do not need God’s blessing because that you have forever, but you do need yours.  The ego’s picture of you is deprived, unloving, and vulnerable.  You cannot love this.  Yet you can very easily escape from this image by leaving it behind.  You are not there and that is not you.  All illusions about the Sonship are dispelled together as they were made together.  Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be.  Your brother is the mirror in which you see the image of yourself as long as perception lasts.  And perception will last until the Sonship knows itself as whole.  You made perception and it must last as long as you want it.
  4. Illusions are investments.  They will last as long as you value them.  Values are relative, but they are powerful because they are mental judgments.  The only way to dispel illusions is to withdraw all investment from them, and they will have no life for you because you will have put them out of your mind.  While you include them in it, you are giving life to them.  Except there is nothing there to receive your gift.
  5. The gift of life is yours to give because it was given you.  You are unaware of your gift because you do not give it.  You cannot make nothing live since nothing cannot be enlivened.  Therefore, you are not extending the gift you both have and are, and so you do not know your being.  All confusion comes from not extending life, because that is not the Will of your Creator.  You can do nothing apart from Him, and you do do nothing apart from Him.  Keep His way to remember yourself and teach His way lest you forget yourself.  Give only honor to the Sons of the living God and count yourself among them gladly.
  6. Only honor is a fitting gift for those whom God Himself created worthy of honor, and whom He honors.  Give them the appreciation God accords them always, because they are His beloved Sons in whom He is well pleased.  You cannot be apart from them because you are not apart from Him.  Rest in His Love and protect your rest by loving.  But love everything He created of which you are a part, or you cannot learn of His peace and accept His gift for yourself and as yourself.  You cannot know your own perfection until you have honored all those who were created like you.[1]
Photo credit: Zachary D. Curry Sunrise on Litterer

In today’s text reading we learn that we will feel depressed when we fail to bless others.  If we withhold a blessing to any part of the Sonship, we withhold it from all, including ourselves.  We must be 100% committed to this concept, the principle, and the practice to know God and His Kingdom.  For the Sonship is total and cannot be divided, separated, nor it is bound by time or time frames.  To be committed, it must be for all time.  To bless others we extend to them loving thought.  We do not bring up past misdeeds, we offer them forgiveness without demanding an apology for we recognize the difference between what is nothing and what is real.  To bless others and deny nobody a blessing, we do not gossip about others, pass on negative stories about them, or find anything at all to share with them or others except that which holds the attributes of Creation – love, peace, and joy.  We hold their perfect Creation dear to us and carry others inside of our minds as tenderly and gently as a new baby, innocent and pure, lovely and spotless.  This is practicing vigilance for God and His Kingdom.  When we do anything else toward others we have lost the awareness of God and denying ourselves the reality of His eternal Kingdom.

However, even as denial can be used as a defense against God and His Kingdom, so can it be used positively in the service of Holy Spirit.  Because denial will depress and deprive our awareness of the attributes of God when we fail to bless others, the sense of deprivation and depression alone will help us remember the Sonship principles and thus learn to deny only thoughts of denying blessings!

No matter how crazy the behaviors of others, we are being given an opportunity to bless them.  What they need is the blessing; what we need is to bless them. There is no other way for us to be blessed except by blessing our brothers– this is the law of God and His Kingdom and there is no way around it. 

We all run into people who seem to have a chip on their shoulder – constantly in a bad mood, they do not make us feel happy, they drone on recounting stories about how others have taken advantage of them, shun them, or make them work harder than other people to get any advantages.  Others do not appreciate all the years they have worked, given their best, and have put others first.  We have often been tempted to avoid these people; their negativity is what seems to be depressing us, draining us of joy, and depleting our energy.  However Jesus tells us that this is not the reason we feel deprived.  We feel deprived because we fail to see that these people need blessed.  Instead of avoiding them, we need to uphold them in our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Instead of protecting ourselves against them, we are to use this opportunity to share loving and kind thoughts towards others who feel lonely, unacknowledged, and at a disadvantage. 

When we choose to deny others a blessing, we are limiting the attributes of God and His Kingdom to shine through our minds.  While what we are in God can never change, we can forget that and therefore not offer others what we need to offer them.  Jesus tells us that what we want to be must determine every response we make.  Because I want to be as I was created, I want to offer blessings.  I do not want to roll my eyes at another’s self-pitying stories just because I have heard them many times before!  I do not want to dwell upon how annoying the persecution complex; I do not want to avoid others. I want to be fully appreciative and offer only love, respect, and peace.

God’s blessings are something that we have always and forever, but our own blessings are those that we give others.  The ego sees each of us as poor, unloving, weak, and pathetically holding on to every little scrap of something-something we can get our grubby little hands upon to call our own.  We are unable to love this picture of ourselves or others. So instead of denying God’s interpretation of us, Jesus tells us to deny the ego’s version of who and what we are – our brothers are the mirror in which we see our own needs as long as perception lasts.  As long as I see others as a pathetic case, this is what I will see about myself.  This will last until we know ourselves, not as separate entities but as whole and complete in one another.  While I do not remember making perception and you probably do not feel responsible for the perceptual world either, Jesus tells us that as Sons of God who chose another version of themselves, we made perception and it will last as long as we want it.  

As long as we mentally judge everything we see with our flesh eyes, we are investing our power in illusions.  The only way to make illusions go away is to stop mentally judging them and putting them out of our mind.  When I include sour thoughts toward others into my mind, I am giving “life” to their negativity.  And yet their negativity is a big nothing and cannot actually receive the thoughts I am giving it.  My mind then is engaged in rounds of nothingness.

The only way I can be aware of how powerful my thoughts are is to stop giving “life” to that which cannot receive it.  No matter how long I dwell on the lower traits of others, I cannot make those traits that I find so annoying and disheartening real.  I cannot bring them to life except in my mind.  This means that I am not extending the attributes of God that I both have and am, and so I do not know my own being.  We are to extend that which is life – love, joy, peace – the attributes of God’s Kingdom, the gifts that we both have and are in God.  It is God’s Will for us because we are God’s Will to extend what we are to all.  We can only do this in God because we can do nothing apart from Him. 

We remember our true identity and find our Selves when we remember that we are His Son, His attributes, His spiritual gifts, His life.  Remembering who we really are teaches others who they really are and helps us all to remember to practice extending only what we are.  This is the way we honor the Sonship and count ourselves among God’s Son with joy. 

This is the gift of life and it is ours to give.  As long as we do not know what we are in the Brotherhood of Christ, we will not think we are worthy or capable of sharing that which we believe God keeps only for Himself and the elect.  We will think that is somebody else’s job.  We may put money in the collection plate for missions and for all those special people who are called to do God’s Will, seeming to let ourselves off the hook perhaps, but denying ourselves the gift of what we have and what we are in God. 

When we think it is the masters, the saints; the preacher; the pope, the gurus who are the only ones endowed with God’s gifts –  we will be confused about our own place in God’s Kingdom.  We will think that perhaps we should do more for God’s Kingdom but where do we begin?  Who knows what we are talking about when we talk about God and His Kingdom, who can describe it, who knows what it looks like, who knows what is it going to be like existing in a spiritual realm?  Our underlying worry will be:  if it is so wonderful why did we leave it in the first place?  While we all have problems in the world and things are not exactly peachy keen we have all managed to get used to the go-rounds of birth, suffering, death, and despair.  We have even come to cherish our little routines and the systems we have built to manage separation.  So why all this vigilance for God and His Kingdom? 

All of our confusion comes from not realizing our true identity in Him.  We are His beloved Sons in whom He is well pleased, Jesus tells us. When we refuse to believe the ego’s version of our brothers we deny the ego’s version of ourselves. We are not our wretched bodies wasting away in time, we are the Attributes of God, we are Peace, we are Love, we are Joy, we are everlasting spirit and as attributes we cannot be apart from God, we can rest in His Love and protect our rest by extending the attributes of God, which is what we really are and what we are really about.

In paragraph six where we will close for today, Jesus exhorts us to love everything God created for only in loving Creation can we learn of His peace and accept His Peace for ourselves and as ourselves.  We cannot know our own perfection until we honor all others who were created like us.

Today in your personal devotion, ask Holy Spirit to help you through any confusion you may have about what you really are in God.  Ask Him to enlighten your mind and help you to see Creation through the eyes of Christ who perceives us perfectly whole, wholly loving, and as one in His Brotherhood.  Ask Holy Spirit to teach you how to honor everything God created for this is the way to learn His peace, to accept His peace, and to know yourself as His peace. 

[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 7 The gifts of the kingdom VII The totality of the kingdom. 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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