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ACIM – CHAPTER 23 THE WAR AGAINST YOURSELF II. The Laws of Chaos Commentary

II. The Laws of Chaos[1] – Commentary

In yesterday’s post we read the entire 22 paragraphs of “The Laws of Chaos.”  In today’s post we will take a calm and careful look at these principles in order to see beyond them.  We will not attempt to understand the actual laws themselves for they mean nothing, but we will understand what they are for they appear to be an obstacle to reason and to truth.  The purpose of the laws of chaos is to make our existence meaningless and to deny the truth not only about who and what we are, but also to deny the reality and truth of God and the Love which He is and has for all that is.    

The laws of chaos are the laws that rule the world of perception.  But just as perception is not truth, neither are the laws that govern it.  As we take a quiet, peaceful approach to our study today and look upon each of the five laws, let us take as much time as we need to understand and find application illustrations in our daily lives to drive these lessons home in our minds and expand our conscious awareness of how these laws seem to operate in the world and keep us trapped in an illusion of separation from God and Creation.   Yesterday as our ACIM study group discussed this section together we were astounded at how this section of the Course answered so many of the questions and issues we were puzzling over in our personal lives. 

Jesus emphasizes the order of the laws in such a way that it would behoove us to remember them in the order in which He instructs us for the first of the laws leads into the second and so forth.  They are:

1.  Truth is different for everyone.  

2.  Everyone must sin.

3.  We get to define God as separate from ourselves.

4.  We have what we have taken. 

5.  There is a substitute for love.

The first chaotic law maintains that each individual has a different set of thoughts which make him unique from others.  This comes from believing that there is a hierarchy of illusions – some hallucinations work better or are more “true” than others. Every separate person establishes a reality about himself and makes it true by attacking what somebody else values.  This can be justified and rewarded accordingly because everybody makes up a different “reality,” and then fights to make it true against those who have a different “reality.”  My religion is not your religion.  My religion is the right religion – yours is wrong and sinful and therefore you are my enemy unless you choose to come to your senses and join with me in my reality.  This is the basis of all “holy” wars and all conflict in general. 

The first principle of miracles tells us that there are no degrees of truth in illusion.  Illusion is illusion – and all belief systems are equally untrue – miracles apply to everyone – one lie is no more difficult to bring to truth than another.  When I bring my illusions to you and you bring your illusions to me, all we can do is argue.  But when we bring our illusions to truth, they simply disappear.  We do not have to suffer shame, regrets, or hellish torments – we made a mistake, we thought it was this way but now we know better.  Yay for us.  An illusion, a lie, a mistake – nothing about any of these can be more resistant to the truth than another.  Truth cannot be tampered with, and it is the same for everyone. 

When we take a careful look at the second law of chaos, we can see how much the world’s religions cherish sin because sin pays big dividends. Sin sells!  Sin entices us all and we shiver and quiver at thoughts of sin.  I can remember growing up in the Pentecostal religion and being so thrilled at all the testimonies people gave about being set free from their lives of sin.  I could hardly wait to grow up and sin myself so I would have an exciting testimony to share!  The preachers loved to preach against sin, they passed collection plates to gather tithes and offerings that would go to missions to deliver those still living in sin and bound for hell.  For sin was a powerful force that could cause God to punish His Son, to turn against His Own Creation and place the sinner in a place beyond correction and beyond forgiveness. 

When we look upon each other as born into sin and that we must sin in order to need salvation, we are saying that the Will of God created us in such a way that our own destruction is inevitable.  This does not turn our hearts and minds to love God but rather to fear Him.  This does not make us trust God but rather mistrust Him for what Father would turn upon His Own and vilify His Son for making a mistake and make him bleed and suffer and die in order to win His favor and affection. 

God the Father then is different from His Son.  God is big and powerful and grudgingly merciful and grudgingly loving only in certain cases and with certain people.  Even those pet relationships that God has with His chosen are tales of opposition, outrage, divine wrath, uncertainty, and torment.  One must become weak in defeat and supplicate to the one who has conquered.  This is not a God that we go to with perfect trust and happiness, joy and respect but rather a God we dread, that brings us low to make Himself look bigger and stronger, a God we always have to make excuses for, wonder why He didn’t answer our prayers, wonder why He took our loved ones, wonder why those He says He loves the most seem to suffer just like everyone else! 

Accepting the illusion that we are all sinful, that we must all sin and fall short of the Glory of God, leads directly to the third preposterous belief that makes the separation from God go on forever.  When we believe we are born into sin, we believe in a God that holds us accountable for what we cannot help, and we cannot truly love Him.  For only the corrupt would make us pay for something we cannot help. And so our love for God is tainted by the idea that we have been cursed for something that we are ignorant of doing, that we cannot help, that we cannot escape.  That God is not for us, but against us.   

I have come to see that this lack of understanding is why so many beautiful Christian people I know, and love, are always “fighting the devil,” “going to battle with the enemy,” and going to great lengths to prove their love for God through good works, pleading the blood of Jesus, and believing that God requires a blood sacrifice for their salvation. They choose to fear God rather than love God.

It is impossible to love that which we fear, for fear is the opposite of love.   When we believe that God is bloodthirsty, must be appeased and worshipped, adored and flattered, we deny ourselves the unity and oneness with God for Which we were created. No matter how hard we pray, no matter how many times we go to church, no matter how much we read the bible, we will always feel as if we are not enough, we will always feel as if God did us a big favor, but what did we really do that was all that wrong?  Our salvation then will be a series of going to battle with the devil, an ongoing conflict which seems to stretch throughout eternity.

This is the ego’s version of salvation, and it can never save us for it is chaotic, it makes no sense, and it keeps us in conflict with one another and with God.  In this version of salvation, God which is All in All, has an opposite, which would make God not be All in All.  For if God is Everything than anything that is not of God must be nothing.  It is unworthy of the Brotherhood of Christ to give the notion of sin, the devil, of Satan, or Lucifer power in our lives or in the lives of others.  When we give credence to such teaching, Atonement becomes a myth, for as long as we have to keep doing battle with an imaginary enemy, we are not taking a stand for truth and accepting the truth of God. 

When we look at the fourth law of chaos, we realize that the false idea we have about ourselves, the ego, only value what it takes.  When we believe that we can gain from the loss of another, we are not practicing the law of God’s Kingdom which is to receive, to truly have, we must give to receive.  We can never take something away from someone else, for if I steal something from you, I am stealing the most important thing I have from myself. I am forgetting our oneness, our Brotherhood, our unity in Christ. 

Yet the first three of the ego’s laws must lead to this idea of taking from others to gain for ourselves.  It is the law of this world.  We will take from the rich and give to the poor, and no matter how much we try to do this or how miserably it fails, we keep trying to do this and it never works.  Nobody gets riches; everyone becomes poorer.  Enemies do not give willingly to those who despise them; enemies do not value sharing the things they value, and so our whole aim then is to take what they would keep from us by force.  We will make them give it to us because if they are hiding it from us and not sharing it then it must be worth having. 

Pay particular attention to paragraph ten and reflect upon how we justify taking by force what we feel someone else is withholding from us.  We learn early on that the kind cannot survive in this world and we learn just as early on that we must take or else be taken from.

But what is this precious thing that other people have, and we do not?  Why do we feel so justified in our anger and dismay over what others seem to have that we do not?  They always seem to have something we want but cannot seem to figure out how to get it.  And then suddenly it dawns upon us that they took it from us, they hid it from us, they had it in their power to be nice, gentle, generous, and good to us, but they purposefully chose to withhold all that and give us the dregs, shun us, deny us, and make us feel empty, lost, confused, and poor. 

They hid it where we would never think to look!  They hid it in their body – underneath their skin, the perfect hiding place for what belongs to us not them.  And so, we justify our attacks upon each other’s body – we justify war and weapons of mass destruction, we sacrifice each other’s body so that we can have all that they were keeping from us.  We hate each other to the death for the other took this precious pearl from us and hid it from us and would let us suffer and die.  So, when I attack you for what I think you are hiding from me, I only attack you in self-defense.  You deserve my anger, my wrath, my wishes of death upon you. 

But what were you hiding from me?  What did you do to me that you should die so that I can live?  And that is where the final law of chaos comes in – for it would hold that there is a substitute for love.  This substitute for love is the magical cure for all our pain – it gives us a good reason to attack each other, it justifies our desire to take vengeance, it is the ego’s form of salvation for as salvation calls for us to love each other; ego’s salvation is born of enmity.  Whereas holy relationships are born of two equals joining to add love and peace and joy to God’s Kingdom, unholy relationships are based upon the substitute for love – we will wrest from each other what the other has hidden from us and we will wrangle together for power and control, we will make unhappy, and we will call it love.

Again, what is it that you are hiding from me inside your body that I have a right to attack you for, this substitute for love?  What is it that I am willing to see you die that I may take from you?  What is it that you want from me and which you will never stop attacking me for stealing from you?  In paragraph 13, even God seems to take vengeance out upon us for withholding this substitute for love from Him. 

When I asked Holy Spirit to show me what the substitute for love was, it became clear to me that it was our desire to be “special,” to distinguish ourselves, to be more than and greater than and brighter than all the rest.  We get married with the idea that our mates will make us special, we make a bargain – you will be special to me, and I will be special to you and all hell breaks loose when one or the other or both in many cases fail to make the other feel special.  The religious texts that I was taught when I was growing up all revolved around God’s need to be loved, adored, worshipped, praised, and made to feel special by His chosen ones.  We want our friends, followers, classmates, workmates, cellmates, and others to make us feel special because specialness is the substitute we accept in place of love. 

And yet Jesus says that we will never be special, for we are mutual Sons of God and God created us to be like Him in oneness.  There is no room for specialness in love, for love is all-encompassing and to love one is to love all. 

These are the laws of chaos; we will never find meaning in them.  They will not save us for they substitute for the love, peace, and joy which is rightfully ours as God’s Son.  To believe in them is to uphold insanity and reverse the laws of God.  When we follow these laws, we look forward to dying, to get out of what we call life in the flesh.  To believe in them is to believe in flesh and to disregard who and what we really are.  When we practice the laws of chaos, we are blind to what they really are – for they have no meaning, no worth, and no value. 

We know that attack in any form at all cannot be love; that murder no matter what form it takes is always death; that condemnation is never a blessing.  We find our salvation in each other, not through attack, not through trying to find our specialness in each other, not through taking to have, but by sharing our love and accepting no substitute.  I cannot find my salvation in you by harming you in any way.  The salvation that you hold out for me and that I hold out to you is not found in judgment or condemnation.  No matter how physically beautiful you are, no matter how sexy, no matter how much personal charm, wit, and intelligence you may possess – your light will never outshine mine nor will my light make yours look dim.  If you seek specialness from me, you are not my friend nor can I be yours, for the desire for specialness is our destruction.   

Be careful that you do not think that you are above believing the laws of chaos, for Jesus tells us that we do believe in them; that we continue to dress up the symbols of death and decay, sin and punishment in an attempt to preserve the laws of chaos.  We believe in these laws for the form they takes speaks to our traditional religions, our “holy” rites and rituals, our beloved hymns, and patriotic practices.  We have come to love the idea of specialness – our country is special among all the nations of the earth, our church is special, our political party is special, our family, our community, our spouses, our houses.  It only seems natural to seek to distinguish ourselves, to desire recognition, to make our loved ones proud and our enemies jealous.  Many of our religious practices are based upon the assumption that only a few are saved while the rest will perish.  We are taught that God wages war upon the world and upholds the slaughter of all who are different from us.  Jesus asks us to look beyond the form that the laws of chaos take and look calmly at the content to find how we have followed these laws, perhaps unwittingly. 

In paragraph nineteen, Jesus states that any realm apart from Heaven is illusion. There is no life except in Heaven.  Dead or alive in the world, it matters not at all for we are in an illusion of our own making.   A realm which makes opposites and substitutes for reality cannot exist except in illusions, and yet these illusions seem an eternal barrier to Heaven.  When we lack faith in love, chaos becomes our reality.  Believe we are sinners, faith in chaos follows.  The fall from Heaven begins in the practice of chaos; the fall from Heaven ends when we begin to examine and question and see beyond. 

As we draw to a close in today’s commentary, Jesus asks us to refrain from taking one step in the descent to hell.  It is a slippery slope – take one step and the rest will follow.  When we lose our faith in love it is all too easy to practice attack, judgement, condemnation, and ill will.  When we fall into the lower realm it takes but an instant to regain our footing, to know our place in Heaven, to be certain in our trust and know where we belong and Whom we belong to.  All we have to do is ask, to remember our holiness, to walk hand in the hand with our Holy Brother and Friend. 


[1] A Course in Miracles, Chapter 23 The war against yourself. II The laws of chaos. 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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