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

I. Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

For 2021 daily Workbook lessons visit, www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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