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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 10 "GOD AND THE EGO"
VI. THE DYNAMICS OF THE EGO
ACIM.OE.TX.CH 10.VI.41, 42
Let us begin this lesson in "ego dynamics" by understanding that the term itself does not mean anything. In fact, it contains exactly the contradiction in terms which
it meaningless. "Dynamics" implies the power to do something, and the whole separation
lies in the belief that the ego has the power to do
. The ego is fearful to you
you believe this. Yet the truth is very simple:
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK Part I ~ REVIEW III
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
Our third review begins today. We will
review two of the last twenty ideas
each day, until we have reviewed them all.
We will observe a special format for
these practice periods, which you are urged
to follow just as closely as you can.
We understand, of course, that it may be
impossible for you to undertake
what is suggested here as optimal
each day and every hour of the day.
Learning will not be hampered when you miss
a practice period because it is
impossible at the appointed time.
Nor is it necessary that you make
excessive efforts to be sure that you
catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals
are not our aim, and would defeat our goal.
But learning will be hampered when you skip
a practice period because you are
unwilling to devote the time to it
which you are asked to give. Do not deceive
yourself in this. Unwillingness can be
most carefully concealed behind a cloak
of situations you cannot control.
Learn to distinguish situations which
are poorly suited to your practicing
from those which you establish to uphold
the camouflage for your unwillingness.
Those practice periods which you have lost
because you did not want to do them for
whatever reason should be done as soon
as you have changed your mind about your goal.
You are unwilling to cooperate
in practicing salvation only if
it interferes with goals you hold more dear.
When you withdraw the value given them,
allow your practice periods to be
replacements for your litanies to them.
They gave you nothing. But your practicing
can offer everything to you. And so
accept their offering, and be at peace.
The format you should use for these reviews
is this: Devote five minutes twice a day,
or longer if you would prefer, to
considering the thoughts that are assigned.
Read over the ideas and comments which
are written first in each day's exercise.
And then begin to think about them while
letting your mind relate them to your needs,
your seeming problems and all your concerns.
Place the ideas within your mind, and let
it use them as it chooses. Give it faith
that it will use them wisely, being helped
in its decisions by the One Who gave
the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what
is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews,
the means the Holy Spirit uses will
not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come
to your assistance. Give direction at
the start, and then lean back in quiet faith,
and let the mind employ the thoughts you gave
as they were given you for it to use.
You have been given them in perfect trust;
in perfect confidence that you would use
them well; in perfect faith that you would see
their messages, and use them for yourself.
Offer them to your mind in that same trust
and confidence and faith. It will not fail.
It is the Holy Spirit's chosen means
for your salvation. Since it has His trust,
His means must surely merit yours as well.
We emphasize the benefits to you
if you devote the first five minutes of
the day to your review and also give
the last five minutes of your waking day
to it. If this cannot be done, at least
try to divide them so you undertake
one in the morning, and the other in
the hour just before you go to sleep.
The exercises to be done throughout
the day are equally important, and
perhaps of even greater value. You
have been inclined to practice only at
appointed times and then go on your way
to other things, without applying what
you learned to them. As a result, you have
gained little reinforcement, and have not
given it the opportunity to prove
how great are its potential gifts to you.
Here is another chance to use it well.
In these reviews we stress the need to let
your learning not lie idly by between
your longer practice periods. Attempt
to give your daily two ideas a brief
but serious review each hour. Use
one on the hour, and the other one
a half an hour later. You need not
give more than just a moment to each one.
Repeat it, then allow your mind to rest
a little time in silence and in peace.
Then turn to other things, but try to keep
the thought with you, and let it serve to help
you keep your peace throughout the day as well.
If you are shaken, think of it again.
These practice periods are planned to help
you form the habit of applying what
you learn each day to everything you do.
Do not repeat it and then lay it down.
Its usefulness is limitless to you.
And it is meant to serve you in all ways,
all times and places, and whenever you
need help of any kind. Try, then, to take
it with you in the business of the day,
and make it holy, worthy of God's Son,
acceptable to God and to your Self.
Each day's review assignment will conclude
with a restatement of the thought to use
each hour, and the one to be applied
on each half hour as well. Forget them not.
This second chance with each of these ideas
will bring such large advances that we come
from these reviews with learning gains so great
that we begin again on solid ground
with firmer footsteps and with stronger faith.
Do not forget how little you have learned.
Do not forget how much you can learn now.
Do not forget your Father's need of you,
as you review these thoughts He gave to you.
~ Original Handscript of ACIM
L e s s o n 118 ~ REVIEW III
[Review Lesson 105 and Lesson 106]
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
Review III ~ Lesson 105 and Lesson 106
We have made many substitutes to take the place of the happiness and peace given us by God in our creation. We are attached to what we have made and what we now value in place of what has been given us. It is not easy to let go of things outside ourselves that we are convinced are important to our happiness. This world was made as a substitute for God's love. We valued our uniqueness and our specialness more than His love. What we have substituted in the place of His love ultimately leaves us feeling empty. We have God's gifts of peace and joy right now, at this very moment, yet we keep wanting more. The ego is always about more of everything. "What way could give you more than everything, or offer less and still content the holy Son of God?" (W.155.12.4) Our wholeness is dismissed, and we lose sight of our divine identity by our desire for substitutes. These are the things outside ourselves, which we think we need in order to be happy. Yet when we get them, we realize they still leave us feeling empty because they are not the real thing.
Jesus urges us, "Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls." (T.29.VII.1.1-2)(ACIM OE T.29.VIII.43) Idols are substitutes for love. The only way we can be content and truly know peace is by remembering the truth of our creation, and this is where we find our true happiness. "All your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found." (T.29.VII.1.7)(ACIM OE T.29.VIII.43)
We still don't totally believe that there is no happiness to be found in the things of this world. We still think we know where our happiness lies, so we keep seeking for it in the substitutes we have decided are important to our well-being. It is not easy for us to give up our belief that there is something here that will fulfill us, and when we get it we will be happy. Thus, we put our happiness outside ourselves, so we keep seeking and seeking, hoping everything we want will eventually come to us, and we will be in bliss. Jesus tells us, "No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him." (T.29.VII.2.1)(ACIM OE T.29.VIII.44) So we come here for this experience, and we will do what we came to do. There is no need to feel guilty or bad that we still hold some hope for happiness in the world.
As long as we believe we are what we are not, we will "seek out a thousand idols, and to seek beyond them for a thousand more." (T.29.VII.3.1)(ACIM OE T.29.VIII.45) Isn't that what our lives are about and where all our attention goes? The relationships, the jobs, the houses, the careers, the material things, and immaterial things like recognition, power, and pleasures, are all idols. We not only think our happiness lies in getting everything we want, but when our external world does not measure up to our expectations, it can throw us into feelings of sadness, anger and depression. When we accept that all these events are there as perfectly orchestrated opportunities to look at places in ourselves where healing is called for, we become happy learners. Thus, this world of separation can become an essential classroom for looking honestly at how we are using these idols to cover over what lies beneath.
When we have expectations of how things should go in the world and they don't go the way we had hoped, it puts us in a tailspin. When things we value are lost, stolen or broken, we can get very upset and distraught. When things do not work out according to the plans we made, we can get depressed. Being right about the way things should go becomes much more important to us than acceptance of the perfection of everything showing up for us. "Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body's betterment is cast as a major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack, and lack is death." (T.29.VII.4.1-2)(ACIM OE T.29.VIII.46)
How do we let go of all we have substituted for the love we are? How do we connect with the peace and joy we already are? To do so does not mean we must give up our attachments to what we still value, for that would be sacrifice and sacrifice is not called for. We can continue to pursue what we think we want, but as we increasingly apply these Lessons to our lives, our goals and priorities change very naturally. They change because our thought system is changing. Behavior simply follows what we hold in our minds. We simply start to lose interest in what held our attention before. In other words, we increasingly see our idols don't deliver anything that can satisfy our deep desire for contentment and peace. There is no real fulfillment in these pursuits.
We are not being coerced into giving up anything in the world we still want. We will eventually see there is nothing of value here to be given up. All we are being asked to do is look at our attachments and recognize our happiness is not in any of these things. There is a true source of happiness within, always available to us. As we release our wishes and demands through forgiveness, we begin to experience the internal peace and joy Jesus talks about. As we trust this process more and more, we recognize how much more satisfying and reliable it is than pursuing the shifting things of the world.
Eventually, we will want to let go of everything in the world we thought would bring us happiness and peace. It is generally a process, but for some it has come in a moment. I think of Byron Katie or Eckhart Tolle, both of whom experienced an instant of awakening from this dream as a result of their state of deep despair, from which came an instant of total surrender. At one time, I thought this was the end of the ego. I saw enlightenment as more of an event and the end of the journey. Now I have come to understand that the ego continues on, but has very little significance or power. However, attentiveness is still necessary, as it can become very subtle.
When we determine on our own how things should be and what we need to make us happy, we are actually in agreement with the ego and relying on our own personal will. We are choosing to be in control. We plan and organize our day and determine what needs to happen in order for us to be happy. We think we know what is needed. We make lists. We dream dreams. We make plans. We hold expectations. And when things don't go according to plan, we have anger, anxiety, distress, and grievances. The voice of the ego appears to us as incessant, loud, raucous, and relentless. Jesus says that it is actually feeble because ultimately it carries no power of its own. Let us today be willing to question this feeble voice and bring its ramblings to the truth. It does not define us. What it does is block the mighty Voice for Truth, which is constantly speaking of who we are. The mighty Voice has one message for us, which assures us, "I am God's perfect Son." (W.118.(106).2.2)
Love and blessings, Sarah
VI. The Dynamics of the Ego
39 No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for
not looking is the way they are
protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego's thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not
you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The "dynamics" of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to look beyond it since you
have made it real. We will
undo this error quietly together and then look beyond it to truth.
40 What is healing but the removal of all that
stands in the way of knowledge? And how else can one dispel illusions
except by looking at them directly
without protecting them? Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at
is the source of fear, but you have surely learned by now that
fear is not real. We have accepted the fact already that its
effects can be dispelled merely by denying their reality. The next step is obviously to recognize that what has no effects
does not exist. Laws do not operate in a vacuum, and what leads to nothing
has not happened. If reality is recognized by its
extension, what extends to nothing cannot
41 Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot
be seen. Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light
must dispel it. Let us begin this lesson in "ego dynamics" by understanding that the term itself does not mean anything. In fact, it contains exactly the contradiction in terms which
makes it meaningless. "Dynamics" implies the power to do something, and the whole separation
fallacy lies in the belief that the ego has the power to do
anything. The ego is fearful to you
because you believe this. Yet the truth is very simple:
43 When we look at the ego, then, we are not considering dynamics but delusions. We can surely regard a delusional system without fear, for it cannot have any effects if its source is not true. Fear becomes more obviously inappropriate if one recognizes the ego's
goal, which is so clearly senseless that any effort exerted on its behalf is
necessarily expended on nothing. The ego's goal is quite explicitly ego
autonomy. From the beginning, then, its
purpose is to be separate, sufficient unto itself, and independent of any power
except its own. This is
why it is the symbol of separation.
44 Every idea has a purpose, and its purpose is always the natural extension of what it
is. Everything that stems from the ego is the natural outcome of its central belief, and the way to undo its
results is merely to recognize that their
source is not natural, being out of accord with your
true nature. We once said that to will contrary to God is wishful thinking and not real willing. His Will is one because the extension of His Will cannot be unlike itself. The real conflict you experience, then, is between the ego's idle wishes and the Will of God, which you share. Can this
be a real conflict?
45 Yours is the independence of creation,
not of autonomy. Your whole creative function lies in your complete
dependence on God, Whose function He shares with
His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on
Him. Do not ascribe the ego's arrogance to Him, Who wills not to be independent of
you. He has
included you in His Autonomy. Can
you believe that autonomy is meaningful
apart from Him? The belief in
ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God
in which your freedom lies. The ego sees
all dependency as threatening and has twisted even your longing for God into a means of establishing
itself. But do not be deceived by
its interpretation of your conflict.
46 The ego
always attacks on behalf of separation. Believing it has the power to do this, it does nothing else because its goal of autonomy
is nothing else. The ego is totally confused about reality, but it does
not lose sight of its goal. It is much more vigilant than
you are because it is perfectly certain of its purpose.
You are confused because you do
47 What you must learn to recognize is that the
last thing the ego wishes you to realize is that
you are afraid of it. For if the ego gives rise to fear, it is
diminishing your independence and
weakening your power. Yet its one claim to your allegiance is that it can
give power to you. Without this belief, you would not listen to it at all. How, then, can its existence continue if you realize that,
by accepting it, you
are belittling yourself and
depriving yourself of power?
48 The ego can and does allow you to regard yourself as supercilious, unbelieving, "light-hearted," distant, emotionally shallow, callous, uninvolved, and even desperate, but
not really afraid. Minimizing fear but
not its undoing is the ego's constant effort and is indeed the skill at which it is very ingenious. How can it preach separation
without upholding it through fear, and would you listen to it if you recognized this
is what it is doing?
Your recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is
only fear, regardless of the form it takes and quite apart from how the
ego wants you to experience it, is therefore the basic ego threat. Its dream of autonomy is shaken to its foundation by this awareness. For though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will
not accept the cost of fear
if you recognize it. Yet this
is the cost, and the ego
cannot minimize it. For if you overlook love, you are overlooking
yourself, and you
must fear unreality
because you have denied yourself. By believing that you have successfully
attacked truth, you are believing that attack has
power. Very simply, then, you have become afraid of
yourself. And no one wills to learn what he believes would destroy him.
50 If the ego's goal of autonomy could be accomplished, God's purpose could be defeated, and this
is impossible. Only by learning what fear
is, can you finally learn to distinguish the possible from the impossible and the false from the true. According to the ego's teaching,
its goal can be accomplished, and God's purpose can
not. According to the Holy Spirit's teaching,
only God's purpose is accomplishment, and it is
51 God is as dependent on you as you are on Him because His autonomy
encompasses yours and is therefore incomplete
without it. You can only establish your autonomy by identifying
with Him and fulfilling your function
as it exists in truth. The ego believes that to accomplish
its goal is happiness. But it is given
you to know that God's function
is yours and happiness cannot be found apart from your
joint will. Recognize only that the ego's goal, which you have pursued quite diligently, has only brought you
fear, and it becomes difficult to maintain that fear
Upheld by fear, this
is what the ego would have you believe. Yet God's Son is not insane and
cannot believe it. Let him but
recognize it, and he will
not accept it. For only the insane would choose fear
in place of love, and only the insane could believe that love can be gained by attack. But the sane know that only attack could produce
fear, from which the love of God completely protects them.
53 The ego analyzes; the Holy Spirit
accepts. The appreciation of wholeness comes
only through acceptance, for to analyze means to separate out. The attempt to understand totality by breaking it up is clearly the characteristically contradictory approach of the ego to everything. Never forget that the ego believes that power, understanding, and
truth lie in separation, and to
establish this belief it
must attack. Unaware that the belief cannot
be established and obsessed with the conviction that separation
is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it up into small and disconnected parts without meaningful relationships and thus without meaning. The ego will
always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.
54 The ego's interpretation of the laws of perception are, and would
have to be, the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit's. The ego focuses on
error and overlooks
truth. It makes real
every mistake it perceives, and with characteristically circular reasoning concludes that,
because of the mistake, consistent truth must be meaningless. The next step, then, is obvious. If consistent truth is meaningless,
inconsistency must be true if truth has meaning. Holding error clearly in mind and protecting what it has made real, the ego proceeds to the next step in its thought system-that error is real, and
truth is error.
55 The ego makes no attempt to understand this, and it is clearly
not understandable, but the ego does make
every attempt to
demonstrate it, and this it does constantly. Analyzing to attack meaning, the ego
does succeed in overlooking it and is left with a series of fragmented perceptions which it unifies on behalf of
itself. This, then, becomes the universe it perceives. And it is this universe which, in turn, becomes its demonstration of its own reality.
56 Do not underestimate the appeal of the ego's demonstrations to those who would listen. Selective perception chooses its witnesses carefully, and its witnesses
are consistent. The case for insanity
is strong to the insane. For reasoning ends at its beginning, and no thought system transcends its source. Yet reasoning without meaning
cannot demonstrate anything, and those who are convinced by it
must be deluded. Can the ego teach truly when it
overlooks truth? Can it perceive what it has
denied? Its witnesses
do attest to its denial but hardly to what it has denied! The ego looks straight at the Father and does not see Him, for it has denied His Son.
you remember the Father? Accept His Son, and you
will remember Him. Nothing can demonstrate that His Son is unworthy, for nothing can prove that a lie is true. What you see of His Son through the eyes of the ego is a demonstration that His Son does not exist, yet where the Son is, the Father
must be. Accept what God does
not deny, and
He will demonstrate its truth. The witnesses for God stand in His light and behold what
He created. Their silence is the sign that they have beheld God's Son, and in the Presence of Christ they need demonstrate nothing, for Christ speaks to them of Himself and of His Father. They are silent because Christ speaks to them, and it is His words that
58 Every brother you meet becomes a witness for Christ or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him. Everyone convinces you of what you
want to perceive and of the reality of the kingdom you have chosen for your vigilance. Everything you perceive is a witness to the thought system you
want to be true. Every brother has the power to release you
if you will to be free. You cannot accept false witness of
him unless you have evoked false witnesses
against him. If
he speaks not of Christ to you,
you spoke not of Christ to him. You hear but your
own voice, and if Christ speaks
you will hear Him.
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