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17 The word "inevitable" is fearful to the ego but joyous to the Soul. God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more that He can avoid you. The ego is afraid of the Soul's joy because, once you have experienced it, you will withdraw all protection from the ego and become totally without the investment in fear. Your investment is great now because fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness to it. Leave it behind! Do not listen to it, and do not preserve it. Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception as are the Souls He created.

Workbook for Students
Introduction Part I
1 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.

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Workbook for Students
Lesson 40
I am blessed as a Son of God.
1 Today we will begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled, being what you are. No long practice periods are required today, but very frequent short ones are necessary. Once every ten minutes would be highly desirable, and you are urged to attempt this schedule and to adhere to it whenever possible. If you forget, try again. If there are long interruptions, try again. Whenever you remember, try again.

2 You need not close your eyes for the exercise periods, although you will probably find it more helpful if you do. However, you may be in a number of situations during the day when closing your eyes would not be appropriate. Do not miss a practice period because of this. You can practice quite well under almost any circumstance, if you really want to.

3 Today's exercises take little time and no effort. Repeat today's idea, and then add several of the attributes which you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. One practice period might, for example, consist of the following:

4 I am blessed as a Son of God. I am happy, peaceful, loving, and contented.

5 Another might be something as follows:

6 I am blessed as a Son of God. I am calm, quiet, assured, and confident.

7 If only a brief period is available, merely telling yourself that you are blessed as a Son of God will do.

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Chapter 4

The Root of All Evil

II. Right Teaching and Right Learning Par 12-23
12 It is natural enough for the ego to try to protect itself once you have made it, but it is not natural for you to want to obey its laws unless you believe in them. The ego cannot make this choice because of the nature of its origin. You can because of the nature of yours. Egos can clash in any situation, but Souls cannot clash at all. If you perceive a teacher as merely a "larger ego," you will be afraid because to enlarge an ego is to increase separation anxiety. I will teach with you and live with you if you will think with me, but my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher.

13 This is the opposite of the ego-oriented teacher's goal. He is concerned with the effect of his ego on other egos and therefore interprets their interaction as a means of ego preservation. I would not be able to devote myself to teaching if I believed this, and you will not be a devoted teacher as long as you maintain it. I am constantly being perceived as a teacher either to be exalted or rejected, but I do not accept either perception for myself.

14 Your worth is not established by your teaching or your learning. Your worth was established by God. As long as you dispute this, everything you do will be fearful, particularly any situation which lends itself to the "superiority-inferiority" fallacy. Teachers must be patient and repeat their lessons until they are learned. I am willing to do this because I have no right to set your learning limits for you. Once again— nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth. This point is not debatable except in delusions. Your ego is never at stake because God did not create it. Your Soul is never at stake because He did. Any confusion on this point is a delusion and no form of devotion is possible as long as this delusion lasts.

15 The ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself in order to overcome its doubts. It will be doubtful forever, or rather as long as you believe in it. You who made it cannot trust it because you know it is not real. The only sane solution is not to try to change reality, which is indeed a fearful attempt, but to see it as it is. You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of your Soul. When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Do not let your ego dispute this because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are.

16 God is not the author of fear. You are. You have chosen, therefore, to create unlike Him, and you have made fear for yourselves. You are not at peace because you are not fulfilling your function. God gave you a very lofty responsibility which you are not meeting. You know this, and you are afraid. In fact, your egos have chosen to be afraid instead of meeting it. When you awaken you will not be able to understand this because it is literally incredible. Do not believe the incredible now. Any attempt to increase its believability is merely to postpone the inevitable.

17 The word "inevitable" is fearful to the ego but joyous to the Soul. God is inevitable, and you cannot avoid Him any more than He can avoid you. The ego is afraid of the Soul's joy because, once you have experienced it, you will withdraw all protection from the ego and become totally without the investment in fear. Your investment is great now because fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness to it. Leave it behind! Do not listen to it, and do not preserve it. Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception as are the Souls He created.

18 Release yourselves and release others. Do not present a false and unworthy picture of yourself to others, and do not accept such a picture of them yourselves. The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. Its weakness is your strength. Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession. Yet His home will stand forever and is ready for you when you choose to enter it. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating the perishable as the ego is of making the eternal.

19 Of your egos you can do nothing to save yourselves or others, but of your Souls you can do everything for the salvation of both. Humility is a lesson for the ego, not for the Soul. The Soul is beyond humility because it recognizes its radiance and gladly sheds its light everywhere. The meek shall inherit the earth because their egos are humble, and this gives them better perception. The Kingdom of Heaven is the right of the Soul, whose beauty and dignity are far beyond doubt, beyond perception, and stand forever as the mark of the love of God for His creations, who are wholly worthy of Him and only of Him. Nothing else is sufficiently worthy to be a gift for a creation of God Himself.

20 I will substitute for your ego if you wish but never for your Soul. A father can safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself responsible, but this involves no confusion about the child's origin. The brother can protect the child's body and his ego, which are very closely related, but he does not confuse himself with the father because he does this, although the child may. I can be entrusted with your body and your ego simply because this enables you not to be concerned with them and lets me teach you their unimportance. I could not understand their importance to you if I had not once been tempted to believe in them myself.

21 Let us undertake to learn this lesson together, so we can be free of them together. I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. The Soul is far beyond the need of your protection or mine. Remember this:

22 In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world.

23 That is why you should be of good cheer.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 40
I am blessed as a Son of God.
These next eleven Lessons shift to a discussion of the happy things to which we are entitled. We are entitled to happy things because of what we are, but it is not about our definition of happiness. Our definition of happiness is about having our needs met as we perceive them. It is about maintaining our identity as a separate self, using others to serve our needs. If they don’t do that well, we blame them for our lack of happiness. How can we know what will bring us happiness when we don't know our own best interests? We don't know what anything is for and in fact, we don’t even know who we are.
The happiness Jesus speaks about comes from releasing our wants, expectations, self-interest, unworthiness, and self-attack. It comes from healing our guilt and taking responsibility for our projections. It comes from letting go of our identification with this personal self with its judgments and grievances. It is about awakening from the dream where happiness constantly eludes us, and even when we think we have it, we don’t believe it will last. Jesus says that we are entitled to happiness because of what we are. Happiness is in our right minds, but currently, our minds are split between the wrong mind and the right mind. In our wrong mind is our connection to guilt and self-attack. In our right mind is the memory of the Christ Self we are.
We are learning the difference between real freedom and joy. When we turn to the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, we experience freedom and joy, but when we turn to the ego, we experience imprisonment, suffering, and pain. Until we learn the difference, we continue to seek happiness as we define it. We don't yet know what it is and how and where to find it because we are searching outside of ourselves. Yet this Lesson says that the blessedness of our being is already in us, in the right mind. This Lesson is mainly concerned with reminding ourselves of who we are in truth---blessed, calm, quiet, assured, confident, serene, capable, unshakeable, joyful, radiant, full of love, and light. He urges us to add any words we like, which affirm our true nature.
The mind training is necessary to help us differentiate between freedom and imprisonment. Currently, we can’t tell the difference. Jesus is blunt with us when he says, "You no more recognize what is painful than you know what is joyful, and are, in fact, very apt to confuse the two. The Holy Spirit's main function is to teach you to tell them apart. What is joyful to you is painful to the ego, and as long as you are in doubt about what you are, you will be confused about joy and pain." (T.7.X.3.4-6) (ACIM OE T.7.XI.101) However, it is important that we not feel guilty about seeking pleasure as we define it. While we still believe that our identity is a body and we are lacking, we will seek pleasure in the world. Yet Jesus increasingly helps us to see that there is no satisfaction in the world, and our only true happiness is found in recognizing what we are. Our joy comes from the content of love, peace, and joy in the mind, rather than anything in the world of form.
All our unhappiness is a consequence of our separation from God and every problem we have is the result. In fact, separation from God and our choice for the ego are our only problems. Separation is the cause of all our pain and misery. The Atonement principle is the assurance that we have not, and cannot, separate from God. We are still one with God. God is always with us. That is why we can know He goes with us wherever we go, meaning His presence is always with us. We are never on our own. If we truly accepted this, we could never be anxious, upset, worried, or afraid. When fears and feelings of anxiety and unworthiness come up, we know we have sided with the ego. It is an opportunity to bring our wrong-minded thoughts forward and place them on the inner altar, giving them over to the Holy Spirit.
If I am willing to look at my problems and take responsibility for them by seeing that they originate in my own mind, I can bring my mistaken thoughts to the truth, remembering it is only my own thoughts that keep me in misery. Nothing outside of me has the power to make me upset. If someone does seem to upset me, it is because I believe I am unworthy of love. I have given the power to someone outside of me to define me as a guilty self I already believe I am. I will not know myself as the divine being I am until I heal my beliefs in my own unworthiness. When I perceive someone attacking me, and those attacks find a place to land in me, I have some forgiveness work to do with my own self-attacking thoughts. In my right mind is the truth of who I am. The truth is that I have never separated from love because God goes with me wherever I go. I can only be upset if I think I am alone in the world. I must acknowledge that I am wrong about what I am thinking before my misperceptions can be healed. If I continue to justify that I am right in what I am perceiving, no healing is possible. There is no power outside of our own minds that will bring the healing. Beseeching God to take away our fears will never work. We are the ones who have to give them up because we are the ones who made them.
We spend a lot of our time trying to fix problems in the world. Clearly, we all have situations that need to be addressed, but the important thing is to look at what we are thinking about these situations. When we are willing to forgive our mistaken thoughts, the things we need to attend to in the world will be addressed with ease. The Source of all my joy and ease goes with me. Thus, nothing can destroy my peace of mind unless I allow it to do so. Under our insane thoughts is the reality that the separation is not real. We don't believe this right now, but consider the possibility that maybe Jesus is right and we are wrong. Our pain and suffering need not be. "When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be ." (T.4.IV.4.1) (ACIM OE T.4.V.60) Maybe we can remember to laugh at the idea that a Son of God, Who is still One with Him, can suffer. Can we accept that only our thoughts bring suffering? We have a teacher who reminds us that those thoughts are not the truth.
We do our Lesson practice now every ten minutes. How often we remember the Lesson will help us to look at our dedication to the increased practice requirements. We can do the practice with eyes open or closed. We need to affirm the truth often during the day because we really don't believe it yet. It is a Lesson of appreciation, of celebration, and of affirmation. And it is important to remember that Jesus does not want us to feel guilty when we forget to do the Lesson. He does not want our forgetting to be a sin. He only urges us to remember on behalf of our own happiness. As we express the truth today, we attract more of what we affirm.
Jesus says that we don't do this work, not because it is hard, but because we don't believe we are worth the effort. When we forget today, he encourages us to try again and keep up the effort because we are worth it. He is always gentle and encouraging. There is no shame in forgetting. It is just an opportunity to look at our level of resistance and readiness to do this work. We are worth the effort!
This is a Course in mind training and does require mental discipline. Initially, it feels hard, but what is harder than living as an ego in this world? There is so much pain and suffering. We experience so much loss, competition, problems, and difficulties. We keep trying and trying to find real happiness to no avail until death claims us. While the Course does take dedication, we are worth the effort. It is no different than learning any other skill. It does take a lot of practice at first and may feel like a lot of work initially until it becomes a regular part of our thought system. Jesus recognizes that we may go through "long interruptions" (W.40.1.5) in our practice. He knows we lack discipline. That is why the practice is necessary.
Why do we resist? The ego is in constant opposition to our happiness. Jesus says, ". . . the ego does not love you." (T.9.VII.3.5) (ACIM OE T.9.VI.40) Do you notice that even during the best and most pleasurable times in our lives there is an edge of sadness, uneasiness, and fear?
Jesus talks about how to use time well on behalf of our own happiness. The purpose of time is only for our healing. That is its intended purpose. It is for extending blessing and forgiveness . ". . . there is no better use for time." (W.127.7.2) Seek salvation in every encounter by not leaving "anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself." (T.8.III.4.7) (ACIM OE T.8.IV.19)
Of course, the ego has an entirely different purpose for time. Its purpose is for the accumulation of guilt. Guilt proves that we are separate from God and that the ego is real. Our death is the ultimate proof that the ego and body are real, and thus, we really have accomplished the impossible in separating from God. From the perspective of the ego thought system, our function in time is destruction, with time replacing eternity.
This is a wonderful Lesson. We can either do it with our eyes open or closed. Repeat the idea for the day and add several of the attributes you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. " I am blessed as a Son of God. I am happy, peaceful, loving and contented ." (W.40.3.4-5) or " I am blessed as a Son of God. I am calm, quiet, assured and confident, " (W.40.6.7-8) (or other words such as radiant, full of love, serene, capable, unshakeable, etc.)
We can even do this in situations that don't seem feasible. Let's dedicate this day to affirming the truth about ourselves. Make this a blessed day.
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Love and blessings, Sarah

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