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A COURSE IN MIRACLES
CH 3 "RETRAINING THE MIND"
VI. CONFLICT AND THE EGO
48 God and the Souls He created remain in surety, and therefore know that no miscreation exists. Truth cannot deal with unwilling error because it does not will to be blocked out. I was a man who remembered the Soul and its knowledge, and as a man I did not attempt to counteract error with knowledge so much as to correct error from the bottom up. I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind. By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered the Soul and its own real purpose.
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 32
I have invented the world I see.
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio
1 Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it, you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see.
2 The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you and the other the world you see in your mind. In today's exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.
3 Again we will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today two or three times while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both as equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness.
4 For the two longer practice periods, three to five minutes are recommended, with not less than three required. More than five can be utilized if you find the exercises restful. To facilitate this, select a time when few distractions are anticipated and when you yourself feel reasonably ready.
5 These exercises are also to be continued during the day as often as possible. The shorter applications consist of repeating the idea slowly as you survey either your inner or outer world. It does not matter which you choose.
6 The idea for today should also be applied immediately to any situation which may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself:
7 I have invented this situation as I see it.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections
I have invented the world I see
Yesterday, we practiced the thought that "I am not a victim of the world I see." (W.31) This Lesson tells us why that is. It is because we invented this world we see. If we invented it, how can we be its victim? It is our own story, our dream, and our script that we have written, but we are not aware that we have done so. Why? Because the story was written by the part of the mind that chose the ego. It is the wrong mind that is now the domain of the ego. Between the wrong mind and the right mind is the decision-maker, a term used by Ken Wapnick for the part of the mind that chooses, although this term does not show up directly in the Course. The decision-maker is the Son of God that seemed to separate from God and chose to identify with the ego. As a result, the Son became unaware of the right mind where the truth resides. The separation did not change reality.
It is here in our right minds that the Holy Spirit resides and reminds us that we have entered a world of dreams. It is an illusory world that does not exist except in our thoughts. It is all an invention that is made up in order to maintain our separate identity and our separate existence. Now, Jesus speaks to us in this dream, which he knows is not real, but he knows we are nevertheless attached to it, so he must reach us where we think we are. We still want to be right about our seeming reality, but Jesus reminds us that this separated state has not made us happy and that we can now make a different choice. Our thinking process can be reversed with the help of the Holy Spirit. If we are indeed the source of our own difficulties, then we have the power to make another choice. The question is, how willing are we? It depends on how much we have suffered. When we have reached a level of sufficient discomfort and pain, our motivation increases to find a better way. We will not be very motivated to do this work unless there is enough discomfort to motivate a change in direction. The level of discomfort that prompts a change is different for each of us.
That we are the authors of our own story from birth to death may still seem preposterous to us. It is helpful to recall in the introduction to the Lessons that Jesus knows that we will have a lot of resistance, so he tells us to "Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy." (W.PI.IN.9.1-3) (ACIM OE W.In.5) When our motivation to find a way to true peace and joy is high, we will be more willing to practice the Lessons in spite of our resistance. When we start to experience the results of this practice in our lives, our motivation increases significantly.
We are either a character in this dream or the one who is the dreamer of their own story. If we are the dream figure or character in the dream, we truly are the victim of the playwright who cast us in a role with all these crazy characters playing their parts. One of the crazy characters is the god the ego made, who also has a mighty role to play in this drama. We think we love some of these characters; wee think we fear some and hate some. Some we thought we loved, but now we don't. Some characters aggravate us, some challenge us, others make us laugh. We participate in this play with our own strategies on how to survive and thrive in this dream based on our interpretations but always feeling at the mercy of others.
Yet now, as we consider the possibility that we are the dreamer of this dream, we can perhaps start to see it from a new perspective. What if we are the ones who really did create the play and all the characters in it? Am I really just the victim of my own script written by me? Are the characters in my dream simply playing the part and reading the lines I wrote for them! If this is the case, I can change the dream anytime I choose! "You can give it up as easily as you made it up." (W.32.1.3) "While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see." (W.32.1.5) We will give it up when we no longer want to see a world that victimizes us. It seems simple on an intellectual level, but until we are willing to give up our attachment to it, we cling to our perceptions.
What is required is a transition in our current thinking. Looking ahead to Lesson 132, we see the same idea presented there---that the world we see is the effect of our thoughts. Jesus tells us, "Not everyone is ready to accept it, and each one must go as far as he can let himself be led along the road to truth. He will return and go still farther, or perhaps step back a while and then return again." (W.132.6.4-5) It is all about our readiness to accept this thought as true. Jesus recognizes our level of resistance, but again he is very gentle with us, telling us that even though we may step back a while from our spiritual discipline, we will return again. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
The question here is, why would we want to choose to be victims of the world? "While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see." (W.32.1.5) We might naturally think we would prefer the idea that our thoughts are the source of everything we feel and experience and that we have the power to change our experience from one of feeling unfairly treated to one of peace and happiness. Now the world can become a classroom where the Holy Spirit shows us the way to the happy dream. Our attachment to our guilt, to the ego, and to the world is the reason we don't want to take responsibility for inventing the world we see and instead to see ourselves victimized. "The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them. But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them. How childish is the petulant device to keep your innocence by pushing guilt outside yourself, but never letting go!" (T.27.VIII.8.1-3) (ACIM OE T.27.IX.84) When we are ready to look at our guilt and give it over to the Holy Spirit, healing can begin.
As long as we want to keep our individual separated self but want the guilt to rest on others, there can be no healing. The reason we hold onto this stance is that we want them to be the victimizers while we remain the innocent ones. We want to see the sin in them and not in ourselves. Think about how we see our parents as responsible for what we have become. "I didn't ask to be born!" we insist. "If it weren't for how I was treated as a child, I would not have these issues in my life!" And so the story continues with our teachers, preachers, bosses, store clerks, and everyone else who has not treated us well. The whole game is to make someone else responsible for our unhappiness. We justify our own pain by seeing others causing it and now that gives us the right, in our own minds, to defend and counterattack. We bounce back and forth between victim and victimizer; but Jesus reminds us, again and again, we are the ones that invented the world we see. I am not a victim. I have projected my guilt onto others, and now I see it bouncing back at me, but I can choose to take responsibility for it instead.
"The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you, and the other the world you see in your mind. In today's exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination."
(W.32.2.1-3) The point is made again in this paragraph that the outer world is just a reflection of our thoughts, and the inner world is what is reflected in the world we see. It all starts with our own thoughts, but we don't see it that way. It appears as if the inner and the outer are different. We still believe that the world is the cause of what we think and feel. We have not yet accepted that the mind is the cause of everything we see. There is nothing outside of the mind.
Watch the images that your imagination presents to your awareness. The world we see outside and the other world we see in our minds are both in our imagination. Our seeing is all image making. "Hallucinations disappear when they are recognized for what they are. This is the healing and the remedy. Believe them not and they are gone. And all you need to do is recognize that you did this. Once you accept this simple fact and take unto yourself the power you gave them, you are released from them. One thing is sure; hallucinations serve a purpose, and when that purpose is no longer held they disappear." (T.20.VIII.8.1-6) (ACIM OE T.20.IX.74) Later, he goes on to explain that there are only two purposes. One is a focus on sin and guilt and the other is the acceptance of our holiness. One is of the ego and the other is of the Holy Spirit. Which guide to seeing will I choose?
Today, we practice this Lesson in order to help us to see that we are not the effect of the world, but that the world is the effect of our thoughts. Repeat the idea a few times while looking around slowly, then close your eyes and apply the Lesson to the images that arise in your inner world, reminding yourself that both are imaginary. Then use the Lesson as often as possible during the day, as well as in response to any temptation to be upset or disturbed about anything. We bring any disturbing situation and our judgments about it back to our own minds as we remind ourselves that "I have invented the world I see." (W.32) I have invented this situation as I see it.
Love and blessings, Sarah
38 The abilities man now possesses are only shadows of his real strengths. All of his functions are equivocal and open to question or doubt. This is because he is not certain how he will
use them. He is therefore incapable of knowledge, being uncertain. He is also incapable of knowledge because he can perceive lovelessly. He cannot create surely because his perception deceives. Perception did not exist until the separation had introduced degrees, aspects, and intervals. The Soul has no levels, and
all conflict arises from the concept of levels. Only the levels of the Trinity are capable of unity. The levels which man created by the separation cannot
but conflict. This is because they are essentially meaningless to each other.
39 Freud realized this perfectly and that is why he conceived the different levels in his view of the psyche as forever irreconcilable. They were conflict-prone by definition because they wanted different things and obeyed different principles. In
our picture of the psyche, there is an unconscious level which properly consists
only of the miracle ability and which should be under
my direction. There is also a conscious level, which perceives or is aware of impulses from both the unconscious and the superconscious. Consciousness is thus the level of perception but
not of knowledge. Again, to perceive is
not to know.
40 Consciousness was the first split that man introduced into himself. He became a
perceiver rather than a creator in the true sense. Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. The ego is a man-made attempt to perceive himself as he
wished to be rather than as he
is. This is an example of the created-creator confusion we have spoken of before. Yet man can only
know himself as he
is because that is all he can be
sure of. Everything else
is open to question.
41 The ego is the questioning compartment in the post-separation psyche which man created for himself. It is capable of asking valid questions but
not of perceiving valid answers because these are cognitive and cannot
be perceived. The endless speculation about the meaning of mind has led to considerable confusion because the mind
is confused. Only One-Mindedness is without confusion. A separated or divided mind
must be confused; it is uncertain by definition. It
has to be in conflict because it is out of accord with itself.
42 Intrapersonal conflict arises from the same basis as interpersonal conflict. One part of the psyche perceives another part as on a different level and does not understand it. This makes the parts strangers to each other, without recognition. This is the essence of the fear-prone condition in which attack is
always possible. Man has every reason to feel afraid as he perceives himself. This is why he cannot escape from fear until he
knows that he did not and could not create himself. He can
never make his misperceptions valid. His creation is beyond his own error, and that is why he
must eventually choose to heal the separation.
43 Right-mindedness is not to be confused with the
knowing mind because it is applicable only to right perception. You can be right-minded or wrong-minded, and even this is subject to degrees, a fact which clearly demonstrates a lack of association with knowledge. The term "right-mindedness" is properly used as the
correction for "wrong-mindedness," and applies to the state of mind which induces accurate perception. It is miraculous because it
heals misperception, and this is indeed a miracle in view of how man perceives himself.
always involves some misuse of will because it involves the mind in areas of uncertainty. The mind is very active because it has will-power. When it willed the separation, it willed to perceive. Until then, it willed
only to know. Afterwards it willed ambiguously, and the only way
out of ambiguity
is clear perception. The mind returns to its proper function only when it
wills to know. This places it in the Soul's service, where perception is meaningless. The superconscious is the level of the mind which wills this.
45 The mind chose to divide itself when it willed to create both its own levels
and the ability to perceive, but it could not entirely separate itself from the Soul because it is
from the Soul that it derives its whole power to create. Even in miscreation will is affirming its Source or it would merely cease to be. This is impossible because it is part of the Soul which God created and which is therefore eternal.
46 The ability to perceive made the body possible because you must perceive
with something. This is why perception involves an exchange or translation, which knowledge does not need. The interpretive function of perception, actually a distorted form of creation, then permitted man to interpret the body as
himself, which, though depressing, was an attempt to escape from the conflict he had induced. The superconscious, which
knows, could not be reconciled with this loss of power because it is incapable of darkness. This is why it became almost inaccessible to the mind and entirely inaccessible to the body.
47 Thereafter, the superconscious was perceived as a threat because light does abolish darkness merely by establishing the fact that it is not there. The truth will
always overcome error in this sense. This is not an
active process of destruction at all. We have already emphasized that knowledge does not
do anything. It can be
perceived as an attacker, but it
cannot attack. What man perceives as its attack is merely his own vague recognition of the fact that it can always be
remembered, never having been destroyed.
48 God and the Souls He created remain in surety, and therefore
know that no miscreation exists. Truth cannot deal with unwilling error because it does not will to be blocked out. I was a man who remembered the Soul and its knowledge, and as a man I did not attempt to
counteract error with knowledge so much as to
correct error from the bottom up. I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body
and the power of the mind. By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered the Soul and its own real purpose.
49 I cannot unite your will with God's
for you, but I
can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance.
Only your misperceptions stand in your own way. Without them your choice is certain. Sane perception
induces sane choosing. The Atonement was an act based on true perception. I cannot choose for you, but I
can help you make your own right choice. "Many are called, but few are chosen" should read, "
All are called, but few choose to listen. Therefore, they do not choose
50 The "chosen ones" are merely those who choose right
sooner. This is the real meaning of the celestial speed-up. Strong wills can do this
now, and you
will find rest for your Souls. God knows you only in peace, and this
is your reality.
~ Original Hand Script of ACIM
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