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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 6: The Lessons of Love

V: The Lessons of the Holy Spirt

B:  To Have Peace, Teach Peace to Learn It

  1. All who believe in separation have a basic fear of retaliation and abandonment. They believe in attack and rejection, so that is what they perceive and teach and learn. These insane ideas are clearly the result of dissociation and projection. What you teach you are, but it is quite apparent that you can teach wrongly and can therefore teach yourself wrong. Many thought I was attacking them, even though it was apparent I was not. An insane learner learns strange lessons. What you must recognize is that when you do not share a thought system, you are weakening it. Those who believe in it therefore perceive this as an attack on them. This is because everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. If the center of the thought system is true, only truth extends from it. But if a lie is at its center, only deception proceeds from it.   
  2. All good teachers realize that only fundamental change will last, but they do not begin at that level. Strengthening motivation for change is their first and foremost goal. It is also their last and final one. Increasing motivation for change in the learner is all that a teacher need do to guarantee change. Change in motivation is a change of mind, and this will inevitably produce fundamental change because the mind is fundamental.
  3. The first step in the reversal or undoing process is the undoing of the getting concept. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit’s first lesson was “To have, give all to all.” I said that this is apt to increase conflict temporarily, and we can clarify this still further now. At this point, the equality of having and being is not yet perceived. Until it is, having appears to be the opposite of giving. Therefore, the first lesson seems to contain a contradiction, since it is being learned by a conflicted mind. This means conflicting motivation, and so the lesson cannot be learned consistently as yet. Further, the mind of the learner projects its own conflict, and thus does not perceive consistency in the minds of others, making him suspicious of their motivation. This is the real reason why, in many respects, the first lesson is the hardest to learn.  Still strongly aware of the ego in yourself, and responding primarily to the ego in others, you are being taught to react to both as if what you do believe is not true.  
  4. Upside down as always, the ego perceives the first lesson as insane. In fact, this is its only alternative since the other possibility, which would be much less acceptable to it, would obviously be that it is insane. The ego’s judgment, here as always, is predetermined by what it is. The fundamental change will still occur with the change of mind in the thinker. Meanwhile, the increasing clarity of the Holy Spirit’s voice makes it impossible for the learner not to listen. For a time, then, he is receiving conflicting messages and accepting both.
  5. The way out of conflict between two opposing thought systems is clearly to choose one and relinquish the other. If you identify with your thought system, and you cannot escape this, and if you accept two thought systems which are in complete disagreement, peace of mind is impossible. If you teach both, which you will surely do as long as you accept both, you are teaching conflict and learning it. Yet you do want peace, or you would not have called upon the Voice for Peace to help you. Its lesson is not insane; the conflict is.
  6. There can be no conflict between sanity and insanity. Only one is true, and therefore only one is real. The ego tries to persuade you that it is up to you to decide which voice is true, but the Holy Spirit teaches you the truth was created by God, and your decision cannot change it. As you begin to realize the quiet power of the Holy Spirit’s voice, and its perfect consistency, it must dawn on your mind that you are trying to undo a decision that was irrevocably made for you. That is why I suggested before that you remind yourself to allow the Holy Spirit to decide for God for you.
  7. You are not asked to make insane decisions, although you can think you are. It must, however, be insane to believe that it is up to you to decide what God’s creations are. The Holy Spirit perceives the conflict exactly as it is. Therefore, His second lesson is: To have peace, teach peace to learn it.
  8. This is still a preliminary step, since having and being are still not equated. It is, however, more advanced than the first step, which is really only the beginning of the thought reversal. The second step is a positive affirmation of what you want. This, then, is a step in the direction out of conflict, since it means that alternatives have been considered, and one has been chosen as more desirable. Nevertheless, the term “more desirable” still implies that the desirable has degrees.  Therefore, although this step is essential for the ultimate decision, it is clearly not the final one. Lack of order of difficulty in miracles has not yet been accepted, because nothing is difficult that is wholly desired. To desire wholly is to create and creating cannot be difficult if God himself created you as a creator.
  9. The second step, then, is still perceptual, although it is a giant step toward the unified perception that reflects God’s knowing. As you take this step and hold this direction, you will be pushing toward the center of your thought system, where the fundamental change will occur. At the second step progress is intermittent, but the second step is easier than the first because it follows. Realizing that it must follow is a demonstration of a growing awareness that the Holy Spirit will lead you on.[1]

When we believe we are bodies rather than minds, we have an instinctual fear of vengeance and rejection.  Because we believe in vengeance and rejection, this is what we teach each other, this is what we warn our kids about, this is what we do our best to protect ourselves and the ones we love from.  This seems like sanity in the world of bodies, egos, and separation from God and from each other. 

When Jesus taught lessons of love, forgiveness, and the putting down of arms, the religious and political leaders of his day naturally took offense.  He learned and He teaches that when we do not agree with the thought system of another, we are weakening it.  People who believe they are bodies, who believe that God creates that which can be destroyed, who believe in an egotistical God who seeks vengeance and retaliation against His Creation perceive the message of Christ as an attack against themselves.  True or false, our thought systems, the things we believe about the world, about bodies, about God are precious to us.  When we have doubts about our belief systems, we are afraid when other people do not share our beliefs for we see them as taking something away from us.  When our thought systems are true, we have no fear for truth needs so defense, and no matter how many people believe in that which is not true, it does not change the truth itself. 

Herein lies the peace of God.  To have peace about our thought system, we must know that it is true, that it is Godly, that it is loving and extends to all.  We do not have to scare people into believing it.  We do not have to attack people who do not believe in it.  We do not have to threaten or curse anybody who does not believe the truth.  We do not have to worship the truth, we do not have to pay tithes to it, nor do we have to tiptoe around it in case we hurt its little feelings.  We have peace and certainty because it is true. 

As long as we are thinking with the ego, we are thinking in the physical realm.  In our first Holy Spirit lesson we undo the ego’s way of thinking by learning to have, we give all to all.  This is impossible of course in the flesh.  The more we give to others in the flesh, the less we have for ourselves!  But in our thoughts, the more we give appreciation and love to others, the more we get for ourselves.  It is a miracle.  Thoughts do not operate like physical things.  And yet our egos will be mortified at even extending loving thoughts to those it wants us to hate.  While our minds are still thinking in the flesh world, giving and having is opposed. 

Until we start thinking with the higher mind and realize that the world of thought and spirit are entirely different from the ego realm of flesh and physicality, we will not learn this lesson.  Our minds will be conflicted.  We will project this on to others as well making us very suspicious of others, thinking that they are only pretending to hold goodwill out to us, waiting for them to turn on us as soon as we learn to trust them and appreciate them, waiting for them to reciprocate our goodwill with one unkindness or another. 

Jesus understands how hard “to have, give all to all” is for us who are still strongly aware of the ego in ourselves and in others.  We are being taught to react to both our own ego and the ego of others as if what we believe is not true, and this cannot help but hinder our learning. 

There will always be a period of time when the voice of ego opposes the first lesson of the Holy Spirit.  In ego world, the first lesson is insane – it does not work.  The more of anything physical I give to someone else, the less I have.  That is all there is to it.  Jesus tells us however that the fundamental change required for learning the thought system of Holy Spirit will still occur because the increasing clarity of the Voice for God in our minds makes it impossible for the learner not to listen.  We have turned our minds in the right direction.  We have asked for truth.  We have concluded that the world and all that is in it is off its rocker.

We identify with our thought systems, we simply cannot escape this, and as long as we hold two opposing thought systems, we cannot have peace.  If we teach this, and we all do it as long as we accept that we are bodies and spirit, that both the perceptual world and God’s Kingdom are on equal footing, that there is an everlasting heaven and an eternal hell, we are teaching and learning conflict.  No matter how much we yearn for peace, we will not have it.  “To have, give all to all” is not an insane lesson, the conflict over it is what is crazy making!

We behave as if it is up to us to decide which voice is true, but the truth is of God and whether we believe in it or not – it cannot be changed.  As we listen to the Voice for God within our minds and realize the quiet power, the perfect consistency, the logical underlying principles of Holy Spirit’s lessons, we cannot help but understand that there is no conflict, that we are who God says we are, that we are not our bodies, we are not egos, we are not flesh and blood, but rather we are mind, we are spirit, we are forever.  When our higher minds make the decision for God for us, we are no longer deceived by the lower mind with its dog-eat-dog modes of survival, limitations, and fear.    

When we begin to see the insanity of taking it upon ourselves to judge, condemn, and figure out what is true and false in a world opposed to truth, we are filled with a sense of peace, love, and joy.  We can only have peace when we are fully appreciative of everyone and everything.  We get to love, forgive, enjoy, and share happy thoughts with everyone, no matter what.  It is no longer my self-appointed job to point out who goes to heaven or hell because I offer everyone the thoughts that I want for myself.  I love God’s Creation because I am one with God.  I withhold judgement and condemnation.  I extend mercy – flesh and blood is capable of every form of viciousness from snubbing to stabbing; but thank God we are not flesh and blood.  No matter what the ego has made us out to be on its perverted stage, in this upside down dream, we are God’s perfect Son.

“To have peace, teach peace to learn it” can only mean responding in a peaceful manner to unkind words, attitudes, or deeds.  “To have peace, teach peace to learn it” can only mean that we promote goodwill, forgiveness, understanding, and fun times with each other over quarrelling, calling names, holding grudges, believing in the perceptual world and shunning those who hurt our feelings rather than communicating with them.   

We are talking about thought reversal here, brothers.  Ego has entrapped our mind in the perceptual world to relate to one another in an outer-directed way.  Holy Spirit is freeing our mind by asking us to go within to the higher, invisible ideals of loving thought, gratitudinal attitudes, and habits of empathy.  When we think with Holy Spirit, we use our higher minds which communicate with God’s Kingdom, where having and being are the same thing.  Instead of just having love, we are love.  Instead of just having peace, we are peace.  Instead of just having joy, we are joy.  So when we teach the second lesson of Holy Spirit, we are making a conscious choice against what is not peace.  We have still not arrived at the place where we have and are peace itself, because then we would not have to make a choice; Peace would just be ours; Peace would be what we are.  In the meantime, in order to become Peace, we must teach and learn it by committing to this lesson and practicing it at every opportunity.

Ask Holy Spirit to increase your understanding of this lesson and illuminate its finer points for we are pushing toward the center of the thought system of the ego, which has bound us to its lies about our identity, our lack of purpose and meaning, and our innate sinfulness and shame.  This thought system is where the fundamental change necessary for our full awakening will first occur. 

As we embrace the second lesson: “To have peace, teach peace to learn it,” our progress will seem intermittent.  We may still react to perceptions of viciousness with that which is not peace!  We may curse those who curse us, snub those who snub us, hold unkind thoughts in our minds, be jealous and not promote peace at all some of the time.  But we are not here to judge our progress, we are here to learn our lessons and do the best we can!  No matter how many times we flub up, the second step is still easier than the first because teaching and learning peace, becoming Peace Itself, can only follow for those who fully appreciate all.  Realizing that becoming peace must occur for those who extend full appreciation for all the Sons of God demonstrates the growing awareness that Holy Spirit is our chosen Guide.  The ego’s hold has loosened upon our minds and we are well on our way Home where we belong.    


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 6 The lessons of love. V. The lessons of the Holy Spirit. B. To have peace, teach peace to learn it. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit www.i-choose-love.com

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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