IX. The Cloud of Guilt
1. Guilt remains the only thing that hides the Father, for guilt is the attack upon His Son. The guilty always condemn and having done so they will still link the future to the past as is the ego’s law. Fidelity to this law lets no light in, for it demands fidelity to darkness and forbids awakening. The ego’s laws are strict, and breaches are severely punished. Therefore give no obedience to its laws, for they are laws of punishment. And those who follow them believe that they are guilty, and so they must condemn. Between the future and the past the laws of God must intervene if you would free yourself. Atonement stands between them, like a lamp shining so brightly that the chain of darkness in which you found yourself will disappear.
2. Release from guilt is the ego’s whole undoing. Make no one fearful, for his guilt is yours, and by obeying the ego’s harsh commandments you bring its condemnation on yourself, and you will not escape the punishment it offers those who obey it. The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is. And faith can be rewarded only in terms of the belief in which the faith was placed. Faith makes the power of belief, and where it is invested determines its reward. For faith is always given what is treasured, and what is treasured is returned to you.
3. The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, it has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in. Be faithful unto darkness and you will not see, because your faith will be rewarded as you gave it. You will accept your treasure, and if you place your faith in the past, the future will be like it. Whatever you hold dear you think is yours. The power of your valuing will make it so.
4. Atonement brings a reevaluation of everything you cherish, for it is the means by which the Holy Spirit can separate the false and the true, which you have accepted into your mind without distinction. Therefore you cannot value one without the other, and guilt has become as true for you as innocence. You do not believe the Son of God is guiltless because you see the past and see him not. When you condemn a brother you are saying, “I who was guilty choose to remain so.” You have denied his freedom, and by doing so you have denied the witness onto yours. You could as easily have freed him from the past and lifted from his mind the cloud of guilt that binds him to it. And in his freedom would have been your own.
5. Lay not his guilt upon him, for his guilt lies in his secret thought that he has done this unto you. Would you, then, teach him he is right in his delusion? The idea that the guiltless Son of God can attack himself and make himself guilty is insane. In any form, in anyone, believe this not. For sin and condemnation are the same, and the belief in one is faith in the other, calling for punishment instead of love. Nothing can justify insanity, and to call for punishment upon yourself must be insane.
6. See no one, then, as guilty, and you will affirm the truth of guiltlessness unto yourself. In every condemnation that you offer the Son of God lies the conviction of your own guilt. If you would have the Holy Spirit make you free of it, accept His offer of Atonement for all your brothers. For so you learn that it is true for you. Remember always that it is impossible to condemn the Son of God in part. Those whom you see as guilty become the witness to guilt in you, and you will see it there, for it is there until it is undone. Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, it cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.
7. Guilt makes you blind, for while you see one spot of guilt within you, you will not see the light. And by projecting it the world seems dark and shrouded in your guilt. You throw a dark veil over it and cannot see it because you cannot look within. You are afraid of what you would see there, but it is not there. The thing you fear is gone. If you would look within you would see only the Atonement, shining in quiet and in peace upon the altar to your Father.
8. Do not be afraid to look within. The ego tells you all is black with guilt within you and bid you not to look. Instead, it bids you to look upon your brothers, and see the guilt in them. Yet this you cannot do without remaining blind, for those who see their brothers in the dark, and guilty in the dark in which they shroud them, are too afraid to look upon the light within. Within you is not what you believe is there, and what you put your faith in. Within you is the holy sign of perfect faith your Father has in you. He does not value you as you do. He knows Himself and knows the truth in you. He knows there is no difference, for He knows not of differences. Can you see guilt where God knows there is perfect innocence? You can deny His knowledge, but you cannot change it. Look, then, upon the Light He placed within you, and learn what you feared was there has been replaced with love.
Guilt is a device of the ego for it is designed to hide the Father by attacking His Son. When we practice the laws of guilt we remain in the dark dream, fearing punishment, and yet cherishing the ego’s version of justice as long as it is someone else being whipped and shamed and sentenced.
Jesus tells us to remove our selves from this false sense of justice for they are laws of punishment devised by those who identify with ego that dig about in the past to project it upon the future. To free ourselves of this ongoing cycle of madness we find the present moment, the Atonement that breaks the unholy and unloving chains of darkness. This applies to each one of us no matter how vile and perverted the darkness in which we find ourselves. In this present moment we set ourselves free from the past by accepting ourselves only as we were created – as Christ, God’s Son, in love, in goodness, and in goodwill. It does not matter what label the world wants to put on us for our past depravity – we are released when we accept our salvation.
When we no longer accept the story of guilt, the ego is undone. Jesus tells us in paragraph two that we are not to use guilt or fear or shame on anyone – for what we project to others is our own and what we would inflict upon them, we ourselves must endure. It may seem like we get away with it for a time. We may be flying high on our ability to condemn and make guilty, to dig about in the past and find clues that would condemn others for their sins – but the ego rewards those who put their faith in judgment, condemnation, and punishment with judgment, condemnation, and punishment. We must all endure what we are willing to inflict upon others.
This is the power of faith – when we put our faith in love, forgiveness, and mercy we ourselves are rewarded with love, forgiveness, and mercy. When we put our faith in judgment, condemnation, and punishment we are rewarded with the ego’s form of justice, which is never pleasant, fun, or truly rewarding in any way.
This world gives us what we gave it – for it is a perceptual world – a projection of all that would oppose reality. It reflects the darkened mind, the lower mind, the mind that defies the power of Love. When we place our faith in the world, we place our faith in darkness which blinds us to the things of God. Our faith is always rewarded in like kind to what we have invested it in – so if we put our faith in the past – the future will continue along the same pattern. We will hold it dear and think of our diseases and decay and deaths as unique and special, but it is only the same old tired story of humanity repeating itself over and over.
Atonement gives us an entirely new take on everything from the past – Atonement is the way in which Holy Spirit separates the truth from the fiction that has become muddled in our minds. When there becomes a distinction between truth and fiction in our minds, we can step out of the fiction into the truth. We can accept our innocence. Our past – no matter how vile, ignorant, or downright egotistical – is looked upon with forgiveness and mercy – we surely knew not what we were and what we were doing. We were wandering about in the dark and cannot be held accountable for what happens in darkness.
You may say, “Wait a minute! That is not right. That person did me wrong. They are accountable. They not only hurt me and my family, but they hurt other people as well. They need to be punished.”
But punishment does not correct the past, punishment keeps the past alive. No matter how someone may have hurt you, as long as you seek the ego’s justice, your faith is in condemnation and punishment rather than in love, mercy, and forgiveness. Instead of accepting Atonement, you are denying it – not only to your mistaken brother but to yourself. Only when we offer others the freedom from their past, can we be free.
Jesus instructs us in paragraph five to lay no guilt upon our brothers for in this world of delusion, we are all in darkness doing our best to survive and thrive in a world bent upon depriving us and destroying us. We are not to believe in anything that happens here for it is designed to make us hate and fear one another, to attack one another. As humans, you are designed, and I am designed to form alliances one day and to despise each other the next. As humans, you are designed, and I am designed to thrive only when we are willing to devour Creation with no thought for anyone but ourselves. When we are willing to call our brothers sinners and condemn them to hell, we are putting our faith in punishment instead of love. There is nothing that can justify such insanity, for what we seek for in others is what we call forth to ourselves.
Jesus urges us to see no one as guilty but to offer only love, forgiveness, and mercy. Practicing this affirms the truth of guiltlessness – for we are no longer pawns in the us-against-them mentality of ego serfdom. It is silly to think that one’s salvation is simply a matter of believing in a name or in the blood of that name. Accepting Christ is accepting Sonship, it is accepting Sonship for all, it is accepting the Brotherhood of Christ, which is not about me or about you, but about Creation. When I see you as a Son of God, I set you free and I set myself free of all that is not Sonship. Guilt prevents this from happening, guilt projects guilt and until we stop casting guilt upon our brothers, it is impossible to accept the Atonement and be free. When we release another from guilt – when we no longer condemn those that irritate us by chewing with their mouth open or that frighten us with their wealth and power and spite – when we absolutely refuse to judge another by the appearance of evil, greed, or bad manners – the joy in heaven resounds. We have awakened, we have gone beyond perception, we have remembered what we are as Sons, and the witnesses to the Father in us rejoices.
What does this mean? It means that the Sons are learning how to be Fathers. It means that God has not created us to be little eunuch brothers who must learn to get along and love one another so they can return to the Kingdom and play nicely together forever in their eternal playpen. It means that each time we can practice seeing beyond this realm to the eternal one – each time we can look upon evil with an intent to heal and to help rather than to punish and to destroy – we are learning to be a Father, for God created us to be like Him. Holy, loving, creative, and free. Needing no supervision, needing no rules except the one law of God, the law of Love.
Guilt blinds us to this conceptual understanding of who and what we are in God. It darkens our understanding giving us babyish and self-centered ideas about God and our place in His Kingdom. Guilt makes us afraid to look inward because looking to the Kingdom within sets us free from humanity, there is the light of God, there is the Voice for God, there is the Atonement – the part of our mind that never opposed Love. Within we find our innocence, our purity, we find Holy Spirit. Beyond the flesh, we find holiness, wholeness, wellness, and Spirit. We find Love.
In your devotional practice today, go to the Kingdom within – with no fear, no groveling, no begging and pleading, no guilt and no shame. We come to the Kingdom unafraid to look upon the light that shines in us forever. God has created us; He has perfect faith in our return. He does not judge us the way we judge ourselves. Our worth to God is beyond measure because He has shared Himself with us. His devotion toward us goes beyond the stupid things we have done in darkness. The past may mean something in this realm, but it means nothing in the Kingdom of God for God only sees us as we were created. When we accept Christ we accept our Sonship, we accept our innocence, we accept that there is nothing we could ever do, say, or think that would change God’s love and devotion toward us. Today look on the Light within you and see that where you thought there would be guilt and condemnation, there is nothing but Love of God the Father for His Son.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 13 The guiltless world. IX The cloud of guilt. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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