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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 2 "THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATION"
IV. FEAR AS LACK OF LOVE
75 You do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction belongs only at the level where creation is possible. The term does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work. The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask instead for help in the conditions which have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a separated mind willingness. At that level, you can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, thus passively condoning its miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does. The correction is always the same. Before you will to do anything, ask me if your will is in accord with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear.
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
WORKBOOK for STUDENTS
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this-you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
L e s s o n 21
I am determined to see things differently.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 The idea for today is obviously a continuation and extension of the preceding one. This time, however, specific mind searching periods are necessary in addition to applying the idea to particular situations as they arise. Five practice periods are urged, allowing a full minute for each.
2 In the practice periods, begin by repeating the idea to yourself. Then close your eyes and search your mind carefully for situations past, present or anticipated, which arouse anger in you. The anger may take the form of any reaction ranging from mild irritation to rage. The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.
3 Try, therefore, not to let the "little" thoughts of anger escape you in the practice periods. Remember that you do not really recognize what arouses anger in you, and nothing that you believe in this connection means anything. You will probably be tempted to dwell more on some situations than on others on the fallacious grounds that they are more "obvious." This is not so. It is merely an example of the belief that some forms of attack are more justified than others.
4 As you search your mind for all the forms in which attack thoughts present themselves, hold each one in mind and tell yourself:
I am determined to see _____ [name of person] differently.
6 Try to be as specific as possible. You may, for example, focus your anger on a particular attribute of a particular person, believing that the anger is limited to this aspect. If your perception of the person is suffering from this form of distortion, say:
I am determined to see _____ [specify the
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I am determined to see things differently.
If we really want to heal our minds, we need to do the work required to see differently. The reason put forward here for our lack of vision is our anger. More importantly, it is how we think anger is generated by events, circumstances, and people outside of our own minds. In other words, we justify our anger by what others have done. We can't see differently if we think our justifications are correct. Have you ever tried to talk anyone out of their anger when they are determined to see that someone has caused it? When we believe that we are right about the way we see now, there is no room to learn another way. We have it all wrong. Until our angry thoughts are seen for what they are as coming from our own guilt, space is not made for vision.
What is particularly interesting about this Lesson is that it affirms that all anger is the same, whether it is a slight twinge of annoyance or full blown murderous anger. "The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury." (W.21.2.4-5) Of course, it does not seem that way to us. We may dismiss our "small" irritations as unimportant, but Jesus reminds us that there is no hierarchy of illusions. One is not bigger or smaller than another. Any emotion that blocks our peace is worthy of our attention, especially when we realize that under the slight twinge of annoyance lies intense fury.
Jesus challenges some of our beliefs about ourselves with regard to anger. Some of these beliefs are as follows: Anger is justified in certain situations. Anger is a natural impulse that arises on its own accord. We are only angry some of the time. We love someone, but get angry only at certain attributes in them. Anger is a sign of strength and protects our boundaries. Anger is dissipated when it is expressed and is, therefore, healthy. Anger is a sign that you are a bad person. If you don't express your anger, you have refrained from attacking, and anger on behalf of others is a sign of caring.
Jesus shows us that anger causes loss of peace, whether it be mild irritation or overwhelming fury. It is all the same because it always points to something external. There is no order of severity in anger, as it all comes from the same source. What is the source of this anger? We think it comes from what others do and how we perceive events and circumstances in the world. However, earlier Lessons already laid the groundwork for us saying that our minds are responsible for what we see. If we are the cause of what we see, what is in us that has brought about all this anger that we seem to have?
In order to answer that question, we have to understand the metaphysics as Jesus outlines them in the Course. Our anger comes from the decision to separate from God. When we chose to leave the state of Oneness and go into this state of separation, we entered a condition of chronic lack and loneliness. The guilt we experience as a result of this decision is overwhelming. We seek relief from this guilt by projecting responsibility onto others for our painful condition and blame them for our unhappiness. We are especially vulnerable to any kind of perceived attack, and thus, we justify our anger towards them.
We carry this deep anger at ourselves, which has brought overwhelming guilt and fear, and now, we spend our lives cruising for places to put our anger with seeming justification so we don't have to look at ourselves as the source of it. This Lesson begins the reversal process by asking us to look at our anger and recognize, no matter how big or small it seems to be, it all comes from this same source and therefore is all the same. All anger points to the deep, self-hatred we carry. It is all anger at ourselves. Recognizing the various forms of anger is a way to start to uncover all of it as part of our healing journey.
You may find you have some resistance to looking at your anger. I found that I just didn't want to go there this morning. In fact, my first thought was anger at having to look at my irritations. My next thought was anger at the way my office looks this morning. This thought then led to all the other things that are in front of me to do today, while more and more annoyance came to my awareness.
Anger can take many forms, including irritation, annoyance, depression, jealousy, comparison, anxiety, worry, fear, and any kind of distress. We are being asked to get in touch with those places in our minds where we hold thoughts of anger. These thoughts block our vision. This is about our determination to see differently by being willing to see that we chose the ego's version of events, and the ego is always wrong. This Course is taking us through the darkness to the light. We can't just dismiss our anger with positive affirmations, and we can't see differently if we are invested in being right about the way we see now.
Our anger keeps us from the truth of who we are. We don't need to do anything to create safety, abundance, love, and peace. They are already in us and already available. All we are doing when we hold onto our version of events is to keep ourselves unaware of our reality as the Son of God. These Lessons help us to uncover how we are actively keeping ourselves away from the truth of who we are. Seeing ourselves as innocent victims of what others do keeps us in the story. We don't want to take responsibility for the separation, which is why we project the responsibility for the way we feel onto others. Now we see them as the ones to blame for whatever condition we see ourselves in. Ultimately, it is because we don't want to take responsibility for our lives. Thus, if we blame our brothers, we can put our guilt onto them. We declare, "Someone else brought all this about. I am innocent!"
We justify our anger by telling ourselves that anyone would be angry in this situation, or we gather allies who support us and seemingly strengthen our version of the situation. Jesus tells us, anger is never justified, and even though we think we know why we are angry, we don't know. Just like Lesson 5 says, "I am never upset for the reason I think." And in Lesson 6, "I am upset [angry] because I see something that is not there." While anger is never justified, this does not mean that we won't feel angry. Jesus is asking us not to justify the anger. He is not telling us we should not be angry. He only wants us to look at the anger that we are feeling so it can be healed.
Today, we commit five minutes of the day, in total, for this exercise. He asks us to do this in five practice periods of one minute each, during which we search our minds for situations past, present, or anticipated that arouse anger in us.
"As you search your mind for all the forms in which attack thoughts present themselves, hold each one in mind while you tell yourself:
"I am determined to see________ (name of person) differently.
I am determined to see________ (specify the situation) differently." (W.21.4.1-3)
If you are focusing on an attribute you don't like in someone, say:
"I am determined to see________ (specify the attribute) in _________ (name the person) differently."
When we look at an attribute that we don't like in someone, we think we have confined our anger to that attribute. I love Don, but I get irritated when he interrupts me. I think I can safely attack that one thing in him, and therefore, I think my anger is limited. Jesus reminds us this is not the case. Remember that he said, even a small irritation covers intense fury. That is why we need to look at the seemingly small irritations as well as those that bring up rage in us. They are all the same.
Notice any resistance in doing this practice and do not strain to overcome it. Strain is of the ego, trying to overcome itself. It won't work. We have a big investment in the illusion and in our own thoughts. Our conditioned minds have sufficiently ordered the chaos of this world enough for us to feel that we can at least rule our little kingdom! We have established a monument to our independence, our uniqueness, and our specialness where we worship daily. Undoing the investment that we have in our little kingdom and in our limited self can only happen with our willingness to know ourselves as the Christ Self we are.
Love and blessings, Sarah
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND
A Course in Miracles
Chapter Two: The Illusion of Separation
72 You believe that "being afraid" is involuntary, something beyond your control. Yet I have told you several times that only
constructive acts should be involuntary. We have said that Christ-control can take over everything that does
not matter, while Christ-guidance can direct everything that
does if you so choose. Fear cannot be Christ-controlled, but it
can be self-controlled. It
prevents me from controlling it. The correction is therefore a matter of
your will because its presence shows that you have raised the
unimportant to a higher level than it warrants. You have thus brought it under
your will, where it does not belong. This means that
you feel responsible for it. The level confusion here is obvious.
73 The reason I cannot control fear for you is that you are attempting to raise to the mind level the proper content of lower-order reality. I do not foster level confusion, but
you can choose to correct it. You would not tolerate insane
behavior on your part and would hardly advance the excuse that you could not help it. Why should you tolerate insane
thinking? There is a confusion here which you would do well to look at clearly.
You believe that you are responsible for what you
not for what you
think. The truth is that you
are responsible for what you think because it is only at this level that you
can exercise choice.
74 What you do
comes from what you think. You cannot separate yourself from the truth by "giving" autonomy to behavior. This is controlled by me automatically as soon as you place what you think under my guidance. Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate or have
not allowed me to guide it. It is pointless to believe that controlling the
outcome of mis-thought can result in healing. When you are fearful you have willed wrongly. This is why you feel responsible for it. You must change your
mind, not your behavior, and this
is a matter of will.
75 You do not need guidance
except at the mind level. Correction belongs
only at the level where creation is possible. The term does not mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work. The correction of fear
is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask instead for help in the conditions which have brought the fear about. These conditions
always entail a separated mind willingness. At that level, you
can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, thus passively condoning its miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error
does. The correction is always the same. Before you will to do anything, ask me if your will is in accord with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will
be no fear.
76 Fear is always a sign of strain, which arises whenever the
will to do conflicts with
what you do. This situation arises in two ways:
77 First, you can will to do conflicting things, either simultaneously or successively. This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to yourself because the part of the will that wants to do something
else is outraged.
78 Second, you can
behave as you think you should but without entirely
willing to do so. This produces consistent behavior but entails great strain
within the self.
79 In both cases, the will and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do
not will. This arouses a sense of coercion, which usually produces rage. The rage then invades the mind and projection in the wrong sense is likely to follow. Depression or anxiety is virtually certain.
80 Remember that whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind. Your will is split, and your behavior inevitably becomes erratic. Correcting at the behavioral level can shift the error from the first to the second type of strain described above but will not obliterate the fear. It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your will under my guidance without much conscious effort, but this implies habit patterns which you have not developed dependably as yet. God cannot ask more than you will. The strength to do comes from your own undivided will to do. There is no strain in doing God's Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own.
81 The lesson here is quite simple but particularly apt to be overlooked. I will therefore repeat it, urging you to listen. Only your
mind can produce fear. It does so whenever it is conflicted in what it wills, thus producing inevitable strain because willing and doing become discordant. This cannot be corrected by better
doing, but it
can be corrected by higher
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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