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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.


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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Lesson 41
God goes with me wherever I go.
1 Today's idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment which all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering, and intense fear of loss. The separated ones have invented many "cures" for what they believe to be the "ills of the world." But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because the problem is not real.

2 The idea for today has the power to end all this foolishness forever. And foolishness it is, despite the serious and tragic forms it may take. Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the whole world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real and suffered out of its allegiance to them.

3 You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness, because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer, because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go. You can never be alone, because the Source of all life goes with you wherever you go. Nothing can destroy your peace of mind, because God goes with you wherever you go.

4 We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see? Today we will make our first real attempt to get past this dark and heavy cloud and to go through it to the light beyond.

5 There will be only one long practice period today. In the morning, as soon as you get up if possible, sit quietly for some three to five minutes with your eyes closed. At the beginning of the practice period, repeat today's idea very slowly. Then make no effort to think of anything. Try instead to get a sense of turning inward, past all the idle thoughts of the world. Try to enter very deeply into your own mind, keeping it clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention.

6 From time to time, you may repeat today's idea if you find it helpful. But most of all, try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality.

7 It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open if you believe that it is possible. This exercise can bring very startling results even the first time it is attempted. And sooner or later, it is always successful. We will go into more detail in connection with this kind of practice as we go along. But it will never fail completely, and instant success is possible.

8 Throughout the day, use today's idea often, repeating it very slowly and preferably with eyes closed. Think of what you are saying; what the words mean. Concentrate on the holiness which they imply about you; on the unfailing companionship which is yours; on the complete protection that surrounds you.

9 You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.

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Chapter 4
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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 41
God goes with me wherever I go.
Yesterday's Lesson was a beautiful reminder that the truth is in our minds and there is nothing to seek and nowhere else to look for it. Jesus tells us that we can't go anywhere God does not go. He is with us, a part of us wherever we are and wherever we go because He is in our minds. Another way to say this is that we are in Him. All our problems, all worry, anxiety, sense of helplessness, the deepest misery, loneliness, abandonment, depression, intense fear of loss, and all difficulties we experience come from the belief in separation. With separation comes a belief that we have sinned and are thus guilty. We spend our lives trying to overcome these problems by things we do in the world, yet Jesus is showing us this will never work. There is nothing we can do to alleviate our problems, no matter how hard we try nor how determined we are. When we solve one problem, the next one shows up soon after and so on. Oh yes, the "cures" may alleviate symptoms, but they will never solve our perceived problems because the only real problem is our belief in separation. As a result, we hold self-attacking thoughts that are the cause of all the distress we experience. The only place we can address our problems is in our minds. Our minds are the cause and the world is the effect. We think it is the other way around.
 
The only "cure" is to see the problems we think we have are not real. The only cure is to reconnect to our Source. Problems of any kind are just the effects of our thoughts, and thoughts can be changed. In the world, we seem to have many "cures" that we apply to try to fix our problems or those we see around us. We spend a lot of time trying to "figure it all out," but Jesus tells us that none of our perceived problems have any reality. They are just effects of our thinking, which arose when we thought we had separated from God. There is nothing to figure out. Yes, symptoms can be alleviated, but the source of our problems continues in our minds until they are seen for what they are. The answer is to watch our minds and release our self-attacking thoughts so they can be forgiven. Only then will we know the peace and joy given us in our creation. When problems seem to arise, we are invited to turn to the Holy Spirit for His help to reinterpret our thoughts about them.
 
Of course, there is no question about the pain our perceived problems create in our experience and that of others. It is not about dismissing our distress as just illusionary since we may experience tragic consequences in the dream. Our teacher acknowledges that these problems take many serious and tragic forms, yet despite this acknowledgment, he refers to the whole drama as nothing but foolishness. He calls these situations sharp-edged children’s toys but he acknowledges that we do not see it this way. "We understand that you do not believe all of this," (W.41.5.1) but it does not matter if we do not believe it. We are in the beginning phases of our work with the Course, and we just commit to doing the practice asked of us and trust the process. This is a time for faith. It is about acknowledging deep within us that everything is perfect, but that perfection is hidden from us by our insane thoughts. These insane thoughts produce the world we see.
 
"Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to them." (W.41.3.1-2) We carry the real cure for our disease deep within us. This cure heals not by overcoming the "illness," but by healing our belief in the reality of the illness. God is always with us. How could we ever, in any way, be separate from the Infinite? How could we ever be apart from All That Is? The very idea is insane and impossible.
 
Isn't it reassuring to know that the perfection of what we are has never changed? It can never leave us and is part of us wherever we go. It is the light we are. It is the source of all joy. It can't be destroyed, no matter how evil, flawed, or depressed we believe we are. Deep within, everything is perfect. It is the cure for all our perceived problems. There is no other cure we can invent. That is why he tells us, "You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go." (W.41.10.1) We have forgotten to laugh at the foolishness of our dramas. This gentle laugh reminds us of the truth of who we are. Only from outside of the dream, above the battleground, can we experience this drama as untrue. There is a light in us that resides in our right minds. It holds our radiance, and when we make space for it by releasing our blocks, a whole new world will emerge before us. We will see with Christ's vision. Holding onto our dramas simply keeps us in the story. Nothing can change until we let the story go.
 
We take our Self, God, our light, our joy, and our innocence wherever we go because it goes with us. Let this thought offer you assurance today that you are never alone. Take the longer practice period to go past the heavy dark clouds of your insane thoughts to reach this still, quiet place in you that is always there. This is the first meditation in the Course. Jesus is teaching us a form of Course-based meditation that starts by repeating the thought for the day, quieting the mind, turning deep within our minds, and sinking down and inward away from the thoughts of the world.
 
The Lesson really asks us to "Think about what you are saying; What the words mean," (W.41.9.2) Remember who walks with you. His is the "unfailing companionship that is yours." (W.41.9.3) His total commitment to us and His total protection of us is always there. Be comforted by the thought that you are never alone. We truly can rest today in the knowledge of His presence. Can you just let yourself take that into yourself and know that you don't have to wish for anything to be different? We won't find any answers "out there," no matter how hard we try. To look for them "out there" is to be in a state of continual frustration. There is no perfect job, perfect relationship, or anything that will fix us or fulfill us in a world of impermanence and change. There is no permanence on the level of form, but there is perfect protection for us in our faith in Him.
 
"Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you, and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. Never forget the Love of God, Who has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from the loving Mind wherein he was created, and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever." (T.14.III.15.5-8) (ACIM OE T.13.VIII.79)
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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