I. Right Teaching and Right Learning 8-13
8. The ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself in order to overcome its doubts. It will remain doubtful as long as you believe in its existence. You who made it cannot trust it, because in your right mind you realize it is not real. The only sane solution is not to try to change reality, which is indeed a fearful attempt, but to accept it as it is. You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit. When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Do not let your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are.
9. God is not the author of fear. You are. You have chosen to create unlike Him and have therefore made fear for yourself. You are not at peace because you are not fulfilling your function. God gave you a very lofty function that you are not meeting. Your ego has chosen to be afraid instead of meeting it. When you awaken you will not be able to understand this, because it is literally incredible. Do not believe the incredible now. Any attempt to increase its believableness is merely to postpone the inevitable. The word “inevitable” is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the spirit. God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more than He can avoid you.
10. The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego and become totally without investment in fear. Your investment is great now because fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness it. Leave it behind! Do not listen to it and do not preserve it. Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception as is the spirit He created. Release yourself and release others. Do not present a false and unworthy picture of yourself to others, and do not accept such a picture of them yourself.
11. The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. Its weakness is your strength. Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession. Yet His home will stand forever and is ready for you when you choose to enter it. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating the perishable as the ego is of making the eternal.
12. Of your ego you can do nothing to save yourself or others, but of your spirit you can do everything for the salvation of both. Humility is the lesson for the ego, not for the spirit. Spirit is beyond humility because it recognizes its radiance and gladly sheds its light everywhere. The meek shall inherit the earth because their egos are humble, and this gives them truer perception. The Kingdom of Heaven is the spirit’s right, whose beauty and dignity are far beyond doubt, beyond perception, and stand forever as the mark of the Love of God for His creations, who are wholly worthy of Him and only of Him. Nothing else is sufficiently worthy to be a gift for a creation of God Himself.
13. I will substitute for your ego if you wish, but never for your spirit. A father can safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself responsible, but this involves no confusion about the child’s origin. The brother can protect the child’s body and his ego, but he does not confuse himself with the father because he does this. I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this enables you not to be concerned with them and lets me teach you their unimportance. I could not understand their importance to you if I had not once been tempted to believe in them myself. Let us undertake to learn this lesson together so we can be free of them together. I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. Spirit is far beyond the need of your protection or mine. Remember this:
As we come to our devotional practice today let us close our perceptual eyes and ask our Brother Jesus to give us His vision. We invite our holy Brother Jesus to be the guardian of our minds, to substitute for our egos, to protect our mortal bodies so that we have no more concerns in that area! Jesus tells us that His gospel is one of good cheer! We have nothing to fear in the world because Jesus has overcome the world.
Do not think you are alone, dear brothers, in your concerns for the days ahead. Whether you are worried about how to get along with unpleasant coworkers, neighbors, or relatives or your mind is more engaged on world-scale unpleasantness in general, Jesus reminds us – He has overcome the world. Do not develop a persecution complex; do not join in the fear forums; do not allow the ego to dispute the unchangeable reality of God and His devotion to us, His Son. These are all ploys of our imaginary “friend,” the ego – fear is something we made, and it is in direct opposition to God for it doubts God’s love and devotion for His Creation.
Jesus tells us to keep our minds pure, to think joyful thoughts because the ego is afraid of joy. It does not understand it. The ego cannot take credit for joy because the ego cannot manufacture it and has no substitute for it. When we experience true joy we have no more affection for fear, for terror or terrorizing, or for joining in the complaint festivals that stand for friendships in ego world!
This morning when I woke up it was still dark, and I felt a bit grumpy for not getting enough sleep. I tried to return to slumber, but my neurons were firing off in a variety of directions, so I got out of bed. The quieter I tried to be the more racket I made and sure enough, I woke my husband. As I waited for the coffee to brew, my ego tried to convince me that there was absolutely no point in me continuing with A Course in Miracles. “You are in way over your head,” it said to me. “You have no idea what you are talking about. This world is the only reality there is – all this other stuff about a world beyond is pure conjecture. Go ahead and devote yourself to it if you want to be a ninny, but shame on you for leading other people to give up the only world they have to pin their hopes on a fantasy world beyond. You must settle for this world. This is reality, you are your body, and your so-called everlasting spirit is just a fantasy because you want to keep on existing after your expiration date.”
The ego had a lot of other things to say to me along the same line, challenging my worth to God, sneering at my little stabs at artistry and creativity around my house, pointing out all the ways in which I have failed as a human being. “Even if there is a God, you could never reach him. You are so below average in every single way that even the thought of you seeking God is pathetic. Just pathetic.”
And “How dare you challenge the holy texts that were written long before you were born, by people who were better than you in every sense of the word. You have no right to believe in anything outside of what is established as truth. Who are you to say that God is All love and forgiving and merciful when that is only one side of his nature? He is a God of opposites just like you and the rest of the world. God is just like He is painted out to be and you best better accept my version of Him rather than this happy-sappy, hippy-dippy version of your own. He goes after people with vengeance. He will send His thugs for you to mow you down and then you’ll see how merciful and loving He really is. You just wait, girly girl. You just wait.”
Since the ego can turn on a dime, the next moment it was puffing me up and telling me how special I am, gloating over my gifts, and reminding me of how much smarter, better looking, and lush I am compared to everybody else. To my credit, this was a bit more laughable and identifiable. Laughable or not, the ego has no more say in my life! I have experienced the joy of the Lord. I have invited Jesus to be the guardian of my mind. Perhaps when I am still a bit groggy in the morning and have not had my coffee yet, my brain can transmit the ego’s messages to my consciousness, but there in my consciousness stands Jesus filling me with joy, giving me certainty and peace, keeping me still in knowing who and what I am in truth.
God gives us a very lofty function, dear brothers. The ego will do everything it can to divert or pervert our callings. When we allow our egos to dispute our identity and our function in God’s Kingdom, we are accepting the topsy-turvy little shacks that the ego calls life and solace. Jesus assures us that sooner or later we will do as we are called to do – our walk with God is inevitable for we belong to God and to God we must return. God would not be God if He allowed even one tiny little sliver of His Creation be lost, be bamboozled, be destroyed by that which is a lie and has no truth in it. While this inevitableness of God fills the ego with fear, we who have experienced the joy of the Lord can only rejoice! We have nothing to fear, nothing to dread, nothing but happiness for our hearts are not broken and our minds are set free of the perverted gospel.
God cannot create the perishable, Jesus reminds us today, and our hearts leap with joy at this truth. Only we can make up that which decays and dies. Only we can make up a world of opposites, a world of chaos, and a host of religions that offer egoism and fear. Jesus sets us free from opposition, lies, perversions, and all that is not love. He is our wise older brother Who, given the world to love and save, guides us back to our loving Father, to our reality, to our real and holy Selves. He has overcome all that fills us with dread, which makes our heart ache, which breaks our hearts and shatters our peace.
And He calls us to join with Him, brothers. To be courageous, to be of good cheer – devoted teachers who share the aim of healing the mind, of correcting lies, of radiating the light of truth. The ego will not like it, for doubt and fear is incapable of devotion. But we are not to let our hearts grow faint. We are not to let the ego pull us down or puff us up. We are no less and no more special to God than anyone else. With humbled egos, we join with Christ in right teaching and right learning because it is simply the only right thing to do.
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 Illusions of the ego. I. Right teaching and right learning 8-13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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