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Salvation is nothing more than "right-mindedness," which is not the One-Mindedness of the Soul, but which must be accomplished before One-Mindedness can be restored. par 36
ACIM OE TEXT
CH 4 THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
Workbook for Students
Part I
Introduction
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
Part I
Lesson 42
God is my strength.
Vision is His gift .
1 The idea for today combines two very powerful thoughts, both of major importance. It also sets forth a cause and effect relationship which explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of the course. You will see because it is the Will of God. It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. And it is His gift to you, rather than your own, which offers vision to you.

2 God is indeed your strength. And what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.

3 We will have two three- to five-minute longer exercise periods today, one as soon as possible after you wake and another as close as possible to the time you go to sleep. It is better, however, to wait until you can sit quietly by yourself at a time when you feel ready than it is to be concerned with the time as such.

4 Begin the practice period by repeating the idea for today slowly with eyes open, looking about you. Then close your eyes and repeat the idea again, quite slowly. After this, try to think of nothing except thoughts which occur to you in relation to today's idea. You might think, for example:

5 Vision must be possible. God gives truly; or, God's gifts to me must be mine because He gave them to me.

6 Whatever thought that is clearly related to the idea itself is suitable. You may, in fact, be astonished at the amount of course-related understanding some of your own thoughts contain. Let them come without censoring unless you realize your mind is merely wandering and you have let obviously irrelevant thoughts intrude. You may also reach a point where no thoughts at all seem to come to mind. If such interferences occur, open your eyes and repeat the thought once more while looking slowly about; close your eyes, repeat the idea once more, and then continue to look for related thoughts in your mind.

7 Remember, though, that active searching is not appropriate for today's exercises. Try merely to step back and let the thoughts come. If you find this difficult, it is better to spend the practice period alternating between slow repetitions of the idea with eyes open, then closed, then open, and so on, than it is to strain in order to find suitable thoughts.

8 There is no limit on the number of short practice periods which would be most beneficial. The idea for the day is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together and teaching you that what you are studying is a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant.

9 The more often you repeat the idea during the day, the more often you will be reminding yourself that the goal of the course is important to you, and that you have not forgotten it.
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Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
TEXT
Chapter 4
The Root of All Evil

III. The Ego and False Autonomy
par 24-40
24 You have asked lately how the mind could ever have made the ego. This is a perfectly reasonable question; in fact, the best question you could ask. There is, however, no point in giving an historical answer, because the past does not matter in human terms, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present. Abstract thought applies to knowledge, because knowledge is completely impersonal and examples are irrelevant to its understanding. Perception, however, is always specific and therefore quite concrete.

25 Each man makes one ego for himself, although it is subject to enormous variation because of its instability, and one for everyone he perceives, which is equally variable. Their interaction is a process which literally alters both, because they were not made either by or with the unalterable. It is particularly important to realize that this alteration can and does occur as readily when the interaction takes place in the mind as when it involves physical presence. Thinking about another ego is as effective in changing relative perception as is physical interaction. There could be no better example of the fact that the ego is an idea, though not a reality-based thought.

26 Your own present state is a good example of how the mind made the ego. You do have knowledge at times, but when you throw it away, it is as if you never had it. This willfulness is so apparent that one need only perceive it to see that it does happen. If it can occur that way in the present, why is it surprising that it occurred that way in the past? Psychology rests on the principle of the continuity of behavior. Surprise is a reasonable response to the unfamiliar but hardly to something that has occurred with such persistence. I am using your present state [as an example] of how the mind can work, provided you fully recognize that it need not work that way. Why are you surprised that something happened in the dim past when it is so clearly happening right now?

27 You forget the love that animals have for their own offspring and the need they feel to protect them. This is because they regard them as part of themselves. No one disowns something he regards as a very real part of himself. Man reacts to his ego much as God does to His Souls: with love, protection, and great charity. The reaction of man to the self he made is not at all surprising. In fact it duplicates in many ways how he will one day react to his real creations, which are as timeless as he is. The question is not how man responds to his ego, but what he believes he is.

28 Belief is an ego function, and as long as your origin is open to belief at all, you are regarding it from an ego viewpoint. [That is why the Bible quotes me as saying “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Belief does apply to me, because I am the teacher of the ego.] When teaching is no longer necessary, you will merely know God. Belief that there is another way is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. That is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the self. Undermining the ego's thought system must be perceived as painful, even though this is anything but true. Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or a scissors, even though they may well harm themselves if you do not. The speed-up has placed you in the same position.

29 You are not prepared, and in this sense you are babies. You have no sense of real self-preservation and are very likely to decide that you need precisely what would hurt you most. Whether you know it now or not, however, you have willed to cooperate in a concerted and very commendable effort to become both harm less and help ful, two attributes which must go together. Your attitudes, even toward this, are necessarily conflicted, because all attitudes are ego-based. This will not last. Be patient awhile and remember that the outcome is as certain as God.

30 Only those who have a real and lasting sense of abundance can be truly charitable. This is quite obvious when you consider the concepts involved. To the ego, to give anything implies that you will do without it. When you associate giving with sacrifice, then, you give only because you believe that you are somehow getting something better so that you can do without the thing you give. "Giving to get" is an inescapable law of the ego, which always evaluates itself in relation to other egos and is therefore continually preoccupied with the scarcity principle which gave rise to it. This is the meaning of Freud's "reality principle" since Freud thought of the ego as very weak and deprived, capable of functioning only as a thing in need.

31 The "reality principle" of the ego is not real at all. The ego is forced to perceive the "reality" of other egos because it cannot establish the reality of itself. In fact, its whole perception of other egos as real is only an attempt to convince itself that it is real. "Self esteem" in ego terms means nothing more than that the ego has deluded itself into accepting its reality and is therefore temporarily less predatory. This "self esteem" is always vulnerable to stress, a term which actually refers to a condition in which the delusion of the ego's reality is threatened. This produces either ego deflation or ego inflation, resulting in either withdrawal or attack.

32 The ego literally lives by comparisons. This means that equality is beyond its grasp and charity becomes impossible. The ego never gives out of abundance, because it was made as a substitute for it. That is why the concept of "getting" arose in the ego's thought system. All appetites are "getting" mechanisms, representing the ego's need to confirm itself. This is as true of bodily appetites as it is of the so-called "higher" ego needs. Bodily appetites are not physical in origin. The ego regards the body as its home and does try to satisfy itself through the body, but the idea that this is possible is a decision of the ego, which is completely confused about what is really possible. This accounts for its erratic nature.

33 The ego believes it is completely on its own, which is merely another way of describing how it originated. This is such a fearful state that it can only turn to other egos and try to unite with them in a feeble attempt at identification or attack them in an equally feeble show of strength. It is not free, however, to consider the validity of the premise itself, because this premise is its foundation. The ego is the belief of the mind that it is completely on its own. Its ceaseless attempts to gain the Soul's acknowledgment and thus to establish its own existence are utterly useless.

34 The Soul in its knowledge is unaware of the ego. It does not attack it; it merely cannot conceive of it at all. While the ego is equally unaware of the Soul, it does perceive itself as rejected by "something" which is greater than itself. This is why self-esteem in ego terms must be a delusion. The creations of God do not create myths, although the creative efforts of man can turn to mythology. It can do so, however, only under one condition; what man then makes is no longer creative. Myths are entirely perceptions and are so ambiguous in form and so characteristically good and evil in nature that the most benevolent of them is not without fearful components, if only by innuendo.

35 Myths and magic are closely associated in that myths are usually related to the ego origins and magic to the powers which the ego ascribes to itself. Every mythological system includes some account of "the creation" and associates this with its particular perception of magic. The "battle for survival" is nothing more than the ego's struggle to preserve itself and its interpretation of its own beginning. This beginning is always associated with physical birth, because no one maintains that the ego existed before that point in time. The religiously ego-oriented believe that the Soul existed before and will continue to exist afterwards, after a temporary lapse in ego life. Some actually believe that the Soul will be punished for this lapse, even though in reality it could not possibly know anything about it.

36 The term "salvation" does not apply to the Soul, which is not in danger and does not need to be salvaged. Salvation is nothing more than "right-mindedness," which is not the One-Mindedness of the Soul, but which must be accomplished before One-Mindedness can be restored. Right-mindedness dictates the next step automatically, because right perception is uniformly without attack so that wrong-mindedness is obliterated. The ego cannot survive without judgment and is laid aside accordingly. The mind then has only one direction in which it can move. The direction which the mind will take is always automatic, because it cannot but be dictated by the thought system to which the mind adheres.

37 Every thought system has internal consistency, and this provides the basis for the continuity of behavior. However, this is a matter of reliability and not validity. "Reliable behavior" is a meaningful perception as far as ego thinking goes. However, "valid behavior" is an expression which is inherently contradictory because validity is an end and behavior is a means. These cannot be combined logically, because when an end has been attained, the means for its attainment are no longer meaningful.

38 A hypothesis is either false or true, to be accepted or rejected accordingly. If it is shown to be true, it becomes a fact, after which no one attempts to evaluate it unless its status as fact is questioned. Every idea to which the ego has accorded the status of fact is questionable, because facts are in the realm of knowledge.

39 Confusing realms of discourse is a thinking error which philosophers have recognized for centuries. Psychologists are generally quite deficient in this respect, as are many theologians. Data from one realm of discourse do not mean anything in another, because they can be understood only within the thought system of which they are a part. That is why psychologists are concentrating increasingly on the ego in an attempt to unify their clearly unrelated data. It need hardly be said that an attempt to relate the unrelated cannot succeed.

40 The more recent ecological emphases are but another ingenious way of trying to impose order on chaos. We have already credited the ego with considerable ingenuity, though not with creativeness. It should, however, be remembered that inventiveness is really wasted effort, even in its most ingenious forms. We do not have to explain anything. This is why we need not trouble ourselves with inventiveness. The highly specific nature of invention is not worthy of the abstract creativity of God's creations.
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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 42
God is my strength.
Vision is His gift.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
As we do these Lessons, we are now using our time for its intended purpose, which is to wake up from this dream. Jesus tells us that nothing is random in our journey in the world. Our passage through time and space is not chaotic nor accidental. We have chosen this life, and whatever happens is in our script by our own choosing. It has been chosen with the ego to support our individuality, our specialness, and uniqueness. We have established, through this choice for the ego thought system, that we are victims of a world that seems to cause us pain, suffering, challenges, and difficulties of all sorts. When we make the decision to wake up from this dream of pain and suffering, all aspects of our lives can become a classroom for awakening to our true Identity.

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