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What is the Ego?
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ACIM Original Ed  


The surface traits of God's teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body's eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial "personalities" are quite distinct. Nor at the beginning stages of their functioning as teachers of God have they as yet acquired the deeper characteristics that will establish them as what they are. God gives special gifts to His teachers because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary---set in time as a means of leading out of time. These special gifts, born in the holy relationship toward which the teaching-learning situation is geared, become characteristic of all teachers of God who have advanced in their own learning. In this respect they are all alike.   

What is the Ego  
Voice and Music by CIMS SonShip Radio


What is 'Iambic Pentameter'? 

   The ego is idolatry; the sign

   of limited and separated self,

   born in a body, doomed to suffer and

   to end its life in death. It is the will

   that sees the Will of God as enemy,

   and takes a form in which It is denied.

   The ego is the "proof" that strength is weak

   and love is fearful, life is really death,

   and what opposes God alone is true.


   The ego is insane. In fear it stands

   beyond the Everywhere, apart from All,

   in separation from the Infinite.

   In its insanity, it thinks it has

   become a victor over God Himself,

   and in its terrible autonomy

   it "sees" the Will of God has been destroyed.

   It dreams of punishment, and trembles at

   the figures in its dreams, its "enemies"

   who seek to murder it before it can

   ensure its safety by attacking them.


   The Son of God is egoless. What can

   he know of madness and the death of God,

   when he abides in Him? What can he know

   of sorrow and of suffering, when he

   lives in eternal joy? What can he know

   of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt,

   of hatred and attack, when all there is

   surrounding him is everlasting peace,

   forever conflict-free and undisturbed,

   in deepest silence and tranquility?


   To know Reality is not to know

   the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts,

   its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes,

   its plans for its salvation, and the cost

   belief in it entails. In suffering,

   the price for faith in it is so immense

   that crucifixion of the Son of God

   is offered daily at its darkened shrine,

   and blood must flow before the altar where

   its sickly followers prepare to die.


   Yet will one lily of forgiveness change

   the darkness into light; the altar to

   illusions to the shrine of Life Itself.

   And peace will be restored forever to

   the holy minds which God created as

   His Son, His dwelling-place, His joy, His love,
   completely His, completely one with Him.


   ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM    


ACIM Lessons  

L e s s o n  337
My sinlessness protects me from all harm.



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   My sinlessness ensures me perfect peace,

   eternal safety, everlasting love,

   freedom forever from all thought of loss;

   complete deliverance from suffering.

   And only happiness can be my state,

   for only happiness is given me.

   What must I do to know all this is mine?

   I must accept Atonement for myself,

   and nothing more. God has already done

   all things that need be done. I need but learn

   I need do nothing of myself, for I

   can but accept my Self, my sinlessness,

   created for me, now already mine,

   to feel God's Love protecting me from harm,

   to understand my Father loves His Son;

   to know I am the Son my Father loves.


    You who created me in sinlessness

    are not mistaken about what I am.

    I was mistaken when I thought I sinned,

    but I accept Atonement for myself.

    Father, my dream is ended now. Amen.

    ~ Original Hand-script of ACIM          


ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 

ACIM Edmonton, CA

Lesson 337
My sinlessness protects me from all harm.
Sarah's Commentary:

This lesson talks about accepting Atonement for myself, which is what Jesus asks us to do, but what exactly does that mean? Years ago when I started this Course and read that our one responsibility was to accept Atonement for ourselves, I had no idea what that meant. Regardless of what I read in the Course, I had difficulty grasping it. Now I understand that when Jesus talks about accepting the Atonement, he is talking about accepting my innocence. It is accepting the Self as the Christ. It is about recognizing that we have never changed ourselves, and that God created us as perfect eternal beings of light and love. To accept the truth of that, we need to be willing to look at the way that we block that truth about ourselves. Forgiveness is about bringing these blocks/defenses that we hold against the truth to the light. This takes willingness and it takes great vigilance in watching our thoughts. To "Be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom," (T.6.C.2.8)(ACIM OE T.6.c.85) is a "major step toward fundamental change." (T.6.C.3.1)(ACIM OE T.6.c.86)
We spend a lot of our lives looking for love, looking for happiness, and trying to find peace and contentment. Jesus says, "And only happiness can be my state, for only happiness is given to me." (W.337.1.2) Yet the reality is that we don't feel happy all the time. Why is that? "What must I do to know all this is mine?" (W.337.1.3) Jesus tells us in this lesson that there is nothing to be done. "I must accept Atonement for myself, and nothing more." (W.337.1.4) "God has already done all things that need be done."(W.337.1.5) Our job, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is therefore the undoing all that is not true. It is about looking past appearances, recognizing that anything that is not of love and joy has no power to hurt us or anyone else.
In "The Greater Joining", Jesus says, "Accepting the Atonement for yourself means not to give support to someone's dream of sickness and of death. It means that you share not his wish to separate, and let him turn illusions on himself. Nor do you wish that they be turned, instead, on you. Thus have they no effects. And you are free of dreams of pain because you let him be [free of dreams of pain]. Unless you help him, you will suffer pain with him because that is your wish. And you become a figure in his dream of pain, as he is yours. So do you and your brother both become illusions, and without identity." (T.28.IV)(ACIM OE T.28.V.37)

He is saying that acknowledging our oneness with our brother sets us both free, and we do that by recognizing that we are the same. It is not about suffering with him or joining in his pain, but recognizing his innocence, which is to recognize our own. It is not to see ourselves as a dream figure in his story of pain, sickness or suffering, and joining him there. It is about knowing who we are. It is to know the truth about our brother and our self, as we were both created. And the way we know the truth is to bring all of the darkness of our judgments, comparisons, and specialness, to the light of truth.

The big question is, "Why then, don't I feel happy all the time if happiness is already given me and I need do nothing?" Since there is nothing to seek, but only to accept my reality as Love, how is this accomplished? If the answer is acceptance of our reality, of who we are in truth, what is it that keeps us from that? It is our denial and our defenses. It is our belief that we are what WE have made of ourselves. It is ultimately our fear of God. We hold onto this image, this self-concept of what we have made of ourselves because we don't trust God. It is an image of a God that the ego has made that equates God with death. It is our belief that this God, made by the ego, wants to wrest from us our will and demand sacrifice of us.

What is it that we have to undo? How did we get so mistaken about ourselves that we think we have become something else? How is it that we have become so insecure and experience life as suffering and turmoil? Why does it seem that we have to spend our lives seeking for our happiness? Jesus tells us that there is nothing to seek, and that we need to see what we are currently doing is actively denying, defending and negating our happiness and actually protecting ourselves from our reality, as Beings of light and love. We are pure joy, but we are defending against it. How do we do that? We distract ourselves, seek things in the world that we think will make us happy, make plans for our own salvation and keep our minds actively pursuing, actively judging, attacking, feeling guilty, fearful, angry---all those things that keep us defended against the love that we are. It is because of our fear of our one Self that we cling to this image.

That is why forgiveness is so central to the Course teaching, because through forgiveness we recognize who the other person is as sinless as ourselves and we join---Love to Love. We see beyond the behaviors and respond to the call for love with love. We do not respond to the demands and manipulations of another as if it were something to fix or solve, but we respond to the real problem, which is a cry from our brothers to be seen and understood as innocent as we are, in spite of what the behavior might look like. This is how we come to know who we are.

Accepting Atonement for ourselves is important, because it is accepting right-mindedness into our mind, even if only briefly, which leads directly and automatically to extending healing to others. "Accepting healing is the precondition for extending healing, for you must have before you can give." (Course glossary). "The only way to heal is to be healed. The miracle extends without your help, but you are needed that it can begin. Accept the miracle of healing, and it will go forth because of what it is. It is its nature to extend itself the instant it is born. And it is born the instant it is offered and received." (T.27.V.1)(ACIM OE T.27.VI.44) This is why doing the forgiveness work and taking time for meditation practice is important to our healing. We must take responsibility for all of our judgments and attacks that we project on others. Only by taking responsibility for our stuff and bringing it into the light can healing take place.

The miracle is the expression of the Atonement. "The miracle does nothing. All it does is to undo. And thus it cancels out the interference to what has been done. It does not add, but merely takes away." (T.28.I.1)(ACIM OE T.In.28.I.1) While we might think of the miracle as something amazing and dramatic, in actual fact all the miracle does is bring us back to the truth by helping us to recognize that the way we see things now is not the truth. Therefore the miracle simply restores what always was. It brings the problem to the Answer and solves the problem where it really is, which is in the mind. Our only problem is that we cling to an ancient memory of sin and guilt and the miracle clears away these old memories. It helps clear this link to the past. It does not mean that we don't address problems that show up in our lives, but we must recognize that they will never be solved there, never to return. The only real solution is in the mind.

The focus of this whole Course is on miracles. The focus is on attainment of peace and not on what the Course calls Knowledge or a sustained experience of the mystical. We may be tempted to put all of our focus on wanting such experiences . Yet Jesus is clearly putting the focus on doing the work of reversing the way we currently think. Knowledge is beyond the goal of the Course. While mystical experiences are motivating, they are not our focus. Our focus is on moving up the ladder of separation to truth by undoing all that stands in its way.

As we come to recognize ourselves through accepting the Atonement, we recognize our purity and our invulnerability. If we think we can be harmed in any way, we have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten our identity as eternal beings and we are dreaming that we are something else. Through forgiveness and joining with another, rather than building up defenses, we let go of the dream of separation.

Today is a day to commit to healing our minds, bringing anything that stands between us and our brothers and sisters to the Holy Spirit and asking for His help so that we may see the truth.

"You Who created me in sinlessness are not mistaken about what I am. I was mistaken when I thought I sinned, but I accept Atonement for myself. Father, my dream is ended now. Amen." (W.337.2.1-3).

Thus, we see in this a clear statement of how mistaken we have been. In our wrong minds, we don't understand anything at all, because we have been perceiving everything incorrectly. Now it is up to us to recognize our mistakes, recognize that we have been wrong, and humbly accept this teaching and participate fully in it so that our errors can be undone. Thankfully we have a step by step process to do this.

Love and blessings, Sarah 


4. What Are the Characteristics of God's

1 The surface traits of God's teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body's eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial "personalities" are quite distinct. Nor at the beginning stages of their functioning as teachers of God have they as yet acquired the deeper characteristics that will establish them as what they are. God gives special gifts to His teachers because they have a special role in His plan for Atonement. Their specialness is, of course, only temporary-set in time as a means of leading out of time. These special gifts, born in the holy relationship toward which the teaching-learning situation is geared, become characteristic of all teachers of God who have advanced in their own learning. In this respect they are all alike.


2 All differences among the Sons of God are temporary. Nevertheless, in time it can be said that the advanced teachers of God have the following characteristics:

* Trust

3 This is the foundation on which their ability to fulfill their function rests. Perception is the result of learning. In fact, perception is learning because cause and effect are never separated. The teachers of God have trust in the world because they have learned it is not governed by the laws the world made up. It is governed by a Power Which is in them but not of them. It is this Power that keeps all things safe. It is through this Power that the teachers of God look on a forgiven world.


4 When this Power has once been experienced, it is impossible to trust one's own petty strength again. Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him? And who would place his faith in the shabby offerings of the ego when the gifts of God are laid before him? What is it that induces them to make the shift?


5 First, they must go through what might be called "a period of undoing." This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light? He is not yet at a point at which he can make the shift entirely internally. And so the plan will sometimes call for changes in what seem to be external circumstances. These changes are always helpful. When the teacher of God has learned that much, he goes on to the second stage.


6 Next, the teacher of God must go through a "period of sorting-out." This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it. He will find that many if not most of the things he valued before will merely hinder his ability to transfer what he has learned to new situations as they arise. Because he has valued what is really valueless, he will not generalize the lesson for fear of loss and sacrifice. It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful. It is only to the extent to which they are helpful that any degree of reality should be accorded them in this world of illusion. The word "value" can apply to nothing else.


7 The third stage through which the teachers of God must go can be called a "period of relinquishment." If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely. There is, however, no point in sorting out the valuable from the valueless unless the next obvious step is taken. The third step is rarely if ever begun until the second is complete. Therefore, the period of overlap is apt to be one in which the teacher of God feels called upon to sacrifice his own best interests on behalf of truth. He has not realized as yet how wholly impossible such a demand would be. He can learn this only as he actually does give up the valueless. Through this he learns that where he anticipated grief, he finds a happy light-heartedness instead; where he thought something was asked of him, he finds a gift bestowed on him.


8 Now comes a "period of settling down." This is a quiet time in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. "Give up what you do not want and keep what you do." How simple is the obvious! And how easy to do! The teacher of God needs this period of respite. He has not yet come as far as he thinks. Yet when he is ready to go on, he goes with mighty companions beside him. Now he rests a while and gathers them before going on. He will not go on from here alone.


9 The next stage is indeed a "period of unsettling." Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless and that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting-out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he had learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgment aside and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed!


10 And finally, there is a "period of achievement." It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before becomes solid gains, to be counted on in all "emergencies" as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result-the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought, and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven's state fully reflected. From here the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would "go" anywhere if peace of mind is already complete? And who would seek to change tranquility for something more desirable? What could be more desirable than this?



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