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ACIM – CHAPTER 21 REASON AND PERCEPTION V. The Function of Reason

1.  Perception selects, it makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. The laws of size and shape and brightness would hold, perhaps, if other things were equal. They are not equal. For what you look for, you are far more likely to discover than what you would prefer to overlook. The still, small voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it. Perception is a choice and not a fact. But on this choice depends far more than you may realize as yet. For on the voice you choose to hear and on the sight you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are. Perception is a witness but to this, and never to reality. Yet it can show you the conditions in which awareness of reality is possible, or those where it could never be.

2.  Reality needs no cooperation from you to be itself. But your awareness of it needs your help, because it is your choice. Listen to what the ego says and see what it directs you see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable, and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this will be your faith. But never believe because it is your faith it makes reality.

3. There is another vision and another Voice in which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice. And if you place your faith in them, you will perceive another self in you. This other self sees miracles as natural. They are as simple and as natural to it as breathing to the body. They are the obvious response to calls for help, the only one it makes. Miracles seem unnatural to the ego because it does not understand how separate minds can influence each other. Nor could they do so. But minds cannot be separate. This other self is perfectly aware of this. And thus it recognizes that miracles do not affect another’s mind, only its own. They always change your mind. There is no other.

4. You do not realize the whole extent to which the idea of separation has interfered with reason. Reason lies in the other self you have cut off from your awareness. And nothing you have allowed to stay in your awareness is capable of reason. How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is, or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it. Like all that stems from reason, the basic question is obvious, simple, and remains unasked. But think not reason could not answer it.

5. God’s plan for your salvation could not have been established without your will and your consent. It must have been accepted by the Son of God, for what God wills for him, he must receive. For God wills not apart from him, nor does the Will of God wait upon time to be accomplished. Therefore, what joined the Will of God, must be in you now, being eternal. You must have set aside a place in which the Holy Spirit can abide, and where He is. He must have been there since the need for Him arose, and was fulfilled in the same instant. Such would your reason tell you, if you listened. Yet such is clearly not the ego’s reasoning. Your reason’s alien nature to the ego is proof you will not find the answer there. Yet if it must be so, it must exist. And if it exists for you, and has your freedom as the purpose given it, you must be free to find it.

6. God’s plan is simple; never circular and never self-defeating. He has no Thoughts except the Self-extending, and in this your will must be included. Thus, there must be a part of you that knows His Will and shares it. It is not meaningful to ask if what must be is so. But it is meaningful to ask why you are unaware of what is so, for this must have an answer if the plan of God for your salvation is complete. And it must be complete, because its Source knows not of incompletion.

7. Where would the answer be but in the Source? And where are you but there, where this same answer is? Your Identity, as much a true Effect of this same Source as is the answer, must therefore be together and the same. Oh yes, you know this, and more than this alone. Yet any part of knowledge threatens dissociation as much as all of it. And all of it will come with any part. Here is the part you can accept. What reason points to you can see, because the witnesses on its behalf are clear. Only the totally insane can disregard them, and you have gone past this. Reason is a means that serves the Holy Spirit’s purpose in its own right. It is not reinterpreted and redirected from the goal of sin, as are the others. For reason is beyond the ego’s range of means.

8. Faith and perception and belief can be misplaced and serve the great deceiver’s needs as well as truth. But reason has no place at all in madness, nor can it be adjusted to fit its end. Faith and belief are strong in madness, guiding perception toward what the mind has valued. But reason enters not at all in this. For the perception would fall away at once, if reason were applied. There is no reason in insanity, for it depends entirely on reason’s absence. The ego never uses it, because it does not realize that it exists. The partially insane have access to it, and only they have need of it. Knowledge does not depend on it, and madness keeps it out.

9. The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father’s, to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit’s purpose accepted and accomplished, both at once. Reason is alien to insanity, and those who use it have gained a means which cannot be applied to sin. Knowledge is far beyond attainment of any kind. But reason can serve to open doors you closed against it.

10. You have come very close to this. Faith and belief have shifted, and you have asked the question the ego will never ask. Does not your reason tell you now the question must have come from something that you do not know but must belong to you.? Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception. And in this change is room made way for vision. Vision extends beyond itself, as does the purpose that it serves, and all the means for its accomplishment.[1]

In this world we are captivated by our perception.  We judge each other with impunity.  We take one little scrap of information about another and build a whole case from it.  We pick one little attribute of someone’s whole life and make a laughingstock of them, joking about it for years, holding them up in ridicule to get a cheap chortle at someone else’s expense.  What we find about others to point at, to draw attention to, to judge and condemn we are often, if not always, projecting outward to avoid identifying the ego within ourselves. Because perception goes outward, not inward, when we rely upon our human self to hear and to see, perception will mislead us into more separation – an us-against-them way of thinking and relying upon our own judgments to thrive and survive in the temporal world of pain, suffering, and death.  

The quiet Voice for God is not drowned out by the perceptual world, but Holy Spirit is only heard when we want to hear it.  As long as I am seeking to find justification for my scorn and contempt for you, as long as I am scouring through Facebook and Twitter and googling your name to search for the big scoop about you, I will not hear the Voice for God for that is not what I am seeking.  I am seeking reasons to see you as different from me, to not recognize our oneness.

As long as I content myself on looking upon you as not my equal in holiness and Sonship, as long as I want to put myself here and you there, I am engaging with ego perception and not the perception of Holy Spirit.  I am getting a weird sense of pleasure from collecting facts about you, I am getting a false sense of power from knowing what you have been up to and mistaking that for true knowledge of you. Whether I know it or not, what I truly believe about myself is exactly what I believe about you – that I am a body and not a Spirit, that my flesh life determines who and what I am; that my tiny little, scattered and shattered perceptions make my reality and build my world. Our extremely limited and mistaken perceptions will never teach us the reality of who and what we really are, but it can show us how to recognize where reality is not. 

Reality is reality – it does not need me to believe in it to be reality.  But to become aware of reality is a choice I must make.  In paragraph two we learn that when we follow our ego-driven perceptions we will see ourselves as small, helpless, and fearful. We will be prone to severe sadness, sorrow, feelings of worthlessness, uncertainty, and stupidity.  We will believe that our destiny is determined by powers beyond our control.  Putting our faith in the perceptual world – in the powers that seem to be – we will seek outside of ourselves for meaning, pleasure, attention, and a sense of fulfillment and connection.  We will make special relationships and expect these special people in our lives to make us happy and fulfill our needs. This is an impossible demand for when we live for the flesh our connections and our happiness will be tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea.  I can never really know you in the flesh nor can you know me.  When we put our faith in the perceptual world we are on very shaky ground.  When we believe this shaky ground directs our destiny, we will adjust ourselves, we will normalize the ongoing sense of uncertainty, doubt, and fear of the world, and this will be our reality.  To make this world real we must make all kinds of adjustments to our beautiful Identity.  We must adjust our ever-loving Spirits to love only special people and be wary of all the rest; we must deny our oneness and limit what we share with one another.  When we perceive that someone cherishes a jealous, spiteful nature, we adjust our ever-sharing, ever-inclusive Spirit to seldom if ever share with that particular someone the truth about ourselves and all the fun we may enjoy with someone else.  What we learn from schoolyard and workplace bullies, teaches us hard lessons about the perceptual world, which we mistakenly call the “real world.”  We adjust to this “reality,” and in adjusting to this realm, we learn to deny the reality of who and what we really are and the reality of God’s Kingdom.   

But Jesus tells us that all of us have access to the memory of reality, to the Vision and to the Voice which awakens us from our enchantment with flesh and bodies.  When we learn to place our faith in the Vision and the Voice, we perceive another self – a higher Self, our real and everlasting Self.  This One is naturally loving, giving, and helpful and knows of its oneness with all because it is the One Mind of Sonship.  When we find our Self in us, when we get past the low-minded flesh and body and reach out for the high mind of Christ, miracles are recognized simply as a change of mind.  We exchange the low mind for the high mind.  And when we change our minds, all minds follow. 

When I no longer see you as different from me, reason is restored for now I am functioning in the higher mind where reason resides.  Reason is not available in the low realm of flesh and egos.  There is no reason in lack of any kind.  There is no reason in thoughts of sin, shame, judgment, condemnation, fear, and death.  There is no reason in what we are going to eat next and where we are going to go and what we are going to do.  Nothing about the flesh realm is capable of reason.  There is no reason for some people to be born rich and some poor.  There is no reason in going to war to resolve conflict.  There is no reason in discord among races, cultures, and ethnic groups.  There is no reason for karmic cycles of ongoing drama and trauma.  The low mind is utterly incapable of reason because its reality is a sham; it is a world not of substance but of opposition to substance, a chaotic perceptual world of opposites. 

Reason has never left us – it has always been in the high mind and there it remains.  Reason is alien to the ego, and we will never find reason in any human endeavor.  In everything we do, all the places we go, all the things we build, all the ways in which we bring food to our table, enlarge our families, join together in matrimony and acrimony, we will never find reason.  It is just a circular, self-defeating, ongoing cycle which has no real purpose except to prolong itself through time.  All of us know this – it nags at us, but it is the thing the ego always keeps us from addressing – what is the meaning of all this, what is the reason?

The only reason can be from the Source, can be from our Identity not in death cycles but in eternal life.  For if we are not eternal, our lives have no reason – we are born to live and to die and to stay in the grave forever or to come back and repeat the same thing over and over and over again.  No matter what we may strive for in this life, no matter what great feats we may accomplish, there is no reason for it without our Source.  This is where Reason points to – we can all see it very clearly – only those who have been driven entirely insane by the fear-based perceptual world can fail to grasp it.  

Reason serves the purpose of Holy Spirit which is to reestablish our true Identity as holy and as Spirit.  Reason is beyond the ego – for the ego has no reason and seeks no meaning.  It is like an ongoing soap opera – melodramatic but lacking in creativity and serving no function. 

Faith, perception, belief can all be placed in ego – we have all experienced the terrible deeds of misplaced faith, perception, and belief.  But reason can never be found in that kind of madness.  You will not find reason in a religion or a cult that has a petty tyrant as the head and demands blood allegiance to a set of ridiculous claims. You will not find reason in teachings of sin and shame and sacrifice.  You will not find reason in any part of the hellish realm.  You will not find reason in any flesh endeavor – in fact perception falls away the moment we would ask for reason.  There is no reason in a realm that is made mad with fear.  There is no reason in nature gone rogue, but insanity keeps it out of our consciousness, and we carry on as if we can thrive and survive without it! 

Reason is in the high mind of Sonship.  In the high mind of Sonship, we are holy, and we are Spirit, united with our Father.  When we use reason, we have gained a means which cannot be applied to sin for sin has no reason.  Reason is a function that opens every place in our mind we have closed against reality, against truth, against the Knowledge of God. 

Jesus tells us that we have come very close to this.  We have shifted our faith and belief in the world, and we have asked the question the ego will never ask.  What is the reason – for all this drama and trauma, this flesh that will die, this identification with bones and blood and body?  Our reason informs us that we are more than flesh simply by recognizing the lack of reason in it and for it.  Upheld by reason, faith and belief cannot be misplaced in the ego’s religions that would keep us trapped in flesh and idolizing our humanity.  This line of reasoning changes our perception and builds our faith in our spiritual sight.  When we gain spiritual sight, we see beyond this world; we see beyond the veil of death and darkness; our faith and belief is restored to the eternal Kingdom of God. 


[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 21 Reason and perception. V The function of reason. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

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

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

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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