Section VII. Cause and Effect
- You may still complain about fear, but you nevertheless persist in making yourself fearful. I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear. I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect; the most fundamental law there is. I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully enough. You may feel that at this point it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true. You are not used to miracle-minded thinking, but you can be trained to think that way. All miracle workers need that kind of training.
- I cannot let you leave your mind unguarded, or you will not be able to help me. Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation. Otherwise a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process that would not foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended. The miracle worker must have genuine respect for true cause and effect as a necessary condition for the miracle to occur.
- Both miracles and fear come from thoughts. If you are not free to choose one, you would also not be free to choose the other. By choosing the miracle you have rejected fear, if only temporarily. You have been fearful of everyone and everything. You are afraid of God, of me, and of yourself. You have misperceived or miscreated us and believe in what you have made. You would not have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts. The fearful must miscreate because they misperceive creation. When you miscreate you are in pain. The cause and effect principle now becomes a real expediter, though only temporarily. Actually, “Cause” is a term properly belonging to God, and His “Effect” is His Son. This entails a set of Cause and Effect relationships totally different from those you introduce into miscreation. The fundamental conflict in this world, then, is between creation and miscreation. All fear is implicit in the second, and all love in the first. The conflict is therefore one between love and fear.
- It has already been said that you believe you cannot control fear because you yourself made it, and your belief in it seems to render it out of your control. Yet any attempt to resolve the error through attempting the mastery of fear is useless. In fact, it asserts the power of fear by the very assumption that it need be mastered. The true resolution rests entirely on mastery through love. In the interim, however, the sense of conflict is inevitable since you have placed yourself in a position where you believe in the power of what does not exist.
- Nothing and everything cannot coexist. To believe in one is to deny the other. Fear is really nothing and love is everything. Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished. What you believe is true for you. In this sense the separation has occurred, and to deny it is merely to use denial inappropriately. However, to concentrate on error is only a further error. The initial corrective procedure is to recognize temporarily that there is a problem, but only as an indication that immediate correction is needed. This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay. It should be emphasized, however, that ultimately no compromise is possible between everything and nothing. Time is essentially a device by which all compromise in this respect can be given up. It only seems to be abolished by degrees, because time itself involves intervals that do not exist. Miscreation made this necessary as a corrective device. The statement, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” needs only one slight correction to be meaningful in this context; “He gave it to His only begotten Son.”
- It should especially be noted that God has only one Son. If all His creations are His Sons, every Son must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its oneness transcends the sum of its parts. However, this is obscured as long as any of its parts is missing. That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then can the meaning of wholeness in the true sense be understood. Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so chooses. However, if he does so, he is believing in the existence of nothingness. The correction of this error is the Atonement.
- I have already briefly spoken about readiness, but some additional points might be helpful here. Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some degree of desire to accomplish, but it is by no means necessarily undivided. The state does not imply more than a potential for a change of mind. Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished. We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. Readiness is only the beginning of confidence. You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.
If we experience fear, we are planting the wrong seeds in our minds. We are engaging in unloving thoughts, we are building cases, holding grudges, believing the world’s report instead of the truth of God. God in His love and trust in us put us in charge of our minds and the thoughts we choose to think. Jesus tells us in today’s text reading to guard our minds and use them to create expressions of love instead of miscreations based upon fear.
No matter what we hear or see about the goings on in our dear brother’s life, we use our minds to bring healing and correction. We refuse to share the bad report. We take it to the Lord in prayer and in humility. “This is what I heard about my brother, but I know the true report. I know that he is Yours and he is as You created him. I refuse to believe anything that is not Your will in his life. I will not judge him or condemn him; I will not turn my back upon him. I will believe in his goodness. I will not join in with others when they make fun and call him names, but I will hold him up and believe in all that is true for him while he has temporarily lost his way.”
We are called to perform miracles. We are called to stand with Christ. We are called to shorten the need for time, not lengthen it! The purpose of this Course is to train our minds so that we choose thoughts that are of service to Christ, that we will understand that all miracles start at the thought level and take form only through the power of our belief, and that the correction for all lies, fear, and conflict is through the mastery of love.
To be a miracle worker, we must come to a full understanding of the power of our thoughts. If we do not put Jesus in charge of our thoughts, we add to the world’s lies and perversions of truth. Instead of standing with Christ, we inadvertently stand against Him. We use our beautiful minds to judge and condemn and take sides against Creation instead of for Creation. When we engage in this kind of thought, we are continually in need of a miracle ourselves, instead of being in a position to help others. Until we have a sincere respect for true cause and effect and understand how critical our thoughts are to the Kingdom of God, we will continue to miscreate that which is not miraculous.
Jesus tells us that miracles and fear come from thoughts. Miracles are expressions of charity, fear is a lie, a misperception. It is our choice which thoughts we generate and believe. Choose miracle thoughts, fearful thoughts are automatically rejected, at least for that particular instance. Sadly, most of the time and in most cases we choose fearful thoughts about everyone and everything. Jesus says that we are afraid of God, we are afraid of Him, we are afraid of each other and we are afraid of ourselves! Jesus says that when we are afraid, our thoughts do not create anything real or true or lovely. When we are afraid we miscreate. Thoughts based on fear, only begets more of the same. Miscreations bring with them pain and suffering. As long as I harbor fear toward God and Creation I will suffer a sense of anxiety, shame, dread, and doom. I will prey upon creation instead of love and nurture it. I will mistakenly think of fear and specialness as strength and love and oneness as weakness.
When we train our minds to stand with Christ, we learn that our thoughts determine what we see and experience. While all of us are dimly aware of this already, we fail to take it as seriously as we should for we are afraid of the power that God has entrusted us with. Our thoughts determine the state of the world, the state of the world should not determine our thoughts. Until we get this right, we will continue to miscreate by reacting to the false forms of fearful thoughts that are projected upon the world. This is not fulfilling our function; this is us becoming part of the problem instead of the solution.
The true remedy to every ill rests upon mastery through loving, Christ-centered thought. As long as we believe in the world’s report, we believe in the power of that which does not really exist. When we pray God’s Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, we are to use our minds to this end.
Atonement is the means by which we correct miscreation. We can stop choosing thoughts of separation and choose thoughts of unity and love. We stop choosing thoughts of fear and dread toward God and start choosing thoughts that promote loving Fatherhood, Sonship, and Brotherhood.
When we choose thoughts of fear we choose to believe and put our trust in the perceptions of our flesh eyes and our flesh ears: Dying loved ones, nations at war, one race of people pitted against the other, one country blaming another country for all the world’s woes, greed, and gluttony. When we choose thoughts of love we choose to believe in the truth about Creation. We know that chaos, suffering, doom and gloom is only a projection of all the fear we have made up about God, about each other, and about ourselves. We travel to other countries and enjoy getting to know people who are different from us because we are brothers and friends, we have fun together and communicate words of love, encouragement, and goodwill. We ignore the lies that would fill us with fear and dread of each other and we choose loving thoughts that promote peace, and joy, and everlasting certainty. Jesus urges us to use our minds in this constructive and loving manner, to take a stand. It is the mastery of loving thought that will save us from fear and conflict in the temporary world and earn our place back in the Kingdom where we belong!
It matters little what we think separates and distinguishes us from all other parts of Creation. We are all God’s Son. Not one Son can go missing or be left behind for the Sonship to be whole. Any fearful thought of God leaving any of us behind is a fear-driven lie and those who believe such things will not be able to understand wholeness, oneness, and unity. While we are free to believe in such an incomplete concept of God, we are putting our trust in a lie. When we come to understand Atonement for the Perfect Love of God upon Which It stands, all fear of God and false belief systems that promote lies and curses, bloodshed and sacrifice, will not be punished, but corrected – with love, tenderness, and compassion.
In the last paragraph of today’s reading, Jesus stresses the difference between our readiness and accomplishment. Readiness prepares us for the change of mind that is required for miracle working. We can train our minds, we can be convinced of the mind’s beautiful power, we can have a full understanding of truth and our need to guard our mind from all that is not truth. But until we begin to use our minds for God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are not accomplishing anything. If we do not use what we learn, if we continue to mistake our training for service, we will not gain the confidence and certainty that is necessary for mastery. Jesus is calling to each one of us to practice what we have learned in our everyday lives. No matter how clumsy and awkward we may be on our first attempts to put these concepts into practice, learn to override the lies and seductions of this world with the truth of God.
When our thoughts go beyond the mug shots, the police report, the terrible deeds and loathsome acts – we get to the truth about ourselves and others. All sorts of names and labels may pose for truth about God’s Son in the miscreated kingdom of lies and illusion, but when we accept God’s Perfect Love, we are not judged by our blemishes and mistakes, we are cleansed and made whole again – a Son of God, holy and innocent and pure. Starting this moment, let us use our minds for God’s Kingdom, aligning our thoughts with Christ – thinking, sharing, speaking only that which is true, kind, lovely, and of eternally good report.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2: VII Cause and effect. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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