V. The Ego’s Use of Guilt
- Perhaps some of our concepts will become clearer and more personally meaningful if the ego’s use of guilt is clarified. The ego has a purpose, just as the Holy Spirit has. The ego’s purpose is fear, because only the fearful can be egotistic. The ego’s logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit because your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects. But again, remember that both are in you.
- In Heaven there is no guilt, because the Kingdom is attained through the Atonement, which releases you to create. The word “create” is appropriate here because, once what you have made is undone by the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue is restored and therefore continues in creation. What is truly blessed is incapable of giving rise to guilt and must give rise to joy. This makes it invulnerable to the ego because its peace is unassailable. It is invulnerable to disruption because it is whole. Guilt is always disruptive. Anything that engenders fear is divisive because it obeys the law of division. If the ego is the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt. Guilt is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of attack on God. This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but do not underestimate the power of the ego’s belief in it. This is the belief from which all guilt really stems.
- The ego is the part of the mind that believes in division. How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as based on the concept of usurping God’s power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes that it is you. If you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego you will experience guilt, and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought. However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane. It represents a delusional system and speaks for it. Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that a part of Him has been torn away by you. Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected.
- Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego in your mind, your allowing it to enter makes it your reality. This is because the mind is capable of creating reality or making illusions. I said before that you must learn to think with God. To think with Him is to think like Him. This engenders joy, not guilt, because it is natural. Guilt is a sure sign that your thinking is unnatural. Unnatural thinking will always be attended with guilt because it is the belief in sin. The ego does not perceive sin as a lack of love, but as a positive act of assault. This is necessary to the ego’s survival because, as soon as you regard sin as a lack, you will automatically attempt to remedy the situation. And you will succeed. The ego regards this as doom, but you must learn to regard it as freedom.
- The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, the mind heals the body because it has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive of attacking anyone or anything. I said before that illness is a form of magic. It might be better to say that it is a form of magical solution. The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God. Yet even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes this intent as its own prerogative. It tries to usurp all the functions of God as it perceives them, because it recognizes that only total allegiance can be trusted.
- The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, “What do you want?” must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual. Its effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed. Remember, though, that the alternatives themselves are unalterable. The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives the mind can accept and obey. The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can. Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you made can always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him.
- Irrational thought is disordered thought. God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this. They also show you that you believe that you can think apart from God and want to. Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts and must therefore obey their dictates. This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognizing that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours. The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing. You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. If you accept the remedy for disordered thought, a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain?
- The continuing decision to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings. We have said this before but did not emphasize the destructive results of the decision. Any decision of the mind will affect both behavior and experience. What you want you expect. This is not delusional. Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also return to full creation the instant is has done so. Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent.
We may have thought with guilt so long that joy seems unnatural to us, but Jesus tells us that learning to think with God engenders joy because this is our natural state. As our Beings become spontaneously exuberant, the appearance of any form of guilt will become alien. We will recognize it as a belief in sin and as a lack of love. When we begin to see thoughts of guilt as a call for help we will practice healing, we will seek the remedy of Atonement. Instead of reacting with attack, we will naturally respond with the remedy. And healing is guaranteed. When our minds are healed and set free, the ego, the real culprit, is busted.
When our minds are free of guilt; our minds are healed. Healed minds lead to healed bodies, for we have no more need to punish ourselves, to carry around our heavy loads, to feel accountable for that which has no real value or worth.
“What do we want?” There are two choices – we go with the Higher Mind of Holy Spirit which made by God cannot be changed, reversed, or destroyed, or the lower mind of ego, which is changeable, reversible, and erasable. Do we want to think with God and share healing, love, peace, and joy or do we want to make up delusions with the ego which blames, shames, judges, and condemns using guilt to keep us in a state of division and conflict?
When we feel guilty, we are not thinking with God. When we assign guilt upon others, we are not thinking with God. Our minds are not thinking, they are dreaming insane dreams. When we act upon the ego’s version of reality as if it were real, we feel guilty; when we free our minds from the perceptual world and no longer free responsible for judging it, building a case against it, or holding anybody accountable for what goes on in it, our natural inclination is to turn to Holy Spirit, the only other alternative.
Our sole responsibility as miracle workers, is to accept Atonement for ourselves. The responsibility for what ego has wrought in our lives is not ours. The very purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. When our minds are healed, made whole, and returned to innocence, it is impossible to feel guilty or to hold others guilty for that which has no more effect. Only the ego would attempt to resurrect the painful, sorrowful, or shameful things that no longer exist and keep them fresh in our minds.
When we cherish guilt, we choose to remain separated from the Sonship. Our decision to delude ourselves with the guilt game will affect our behavior and we will experience our daily lives, not with exuberance and lightheartedness, but with dullness and heaviness. Our minds make our future – and how we answer, “What do you want?” will determine our role in the world. Will we be healed and offer health, holiness, and wholeness, or we will be the unhealed and contribute to the ego’s tyrannous delusional world of chaos, conflict, and uncertainty? When we stop relating to our ego, we stop relating to all egos. Our thoughts, words, and deeds begin to relate to everything and everybody on a higher level. We are lifted from the shifting sands of ego-based relationships to the higher realm of holiness in which to build mutually trusting, loving, joyful interactions that teach oneness and wholeness.
Today, put these ideas and this teaching to practice in your daily life by committing to our joint innocence through Christ, our Savior and Holy Brother. Guilt, blame, and shame is not of God, is not used by God, and have no place in His Kingdom.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter Five Healing and wholeness V The ego’s use of guilt. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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