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Immortality is a constant state.
It is as true now as it ever was
or ever will be
because it implies no change at all.
It is not a continuum
nor is it understood by being
compared to an opposite.
Knowledge never involves comparisons.
That is its essential difference from
everything else the mind can grasp.


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 47
God is the Strength in which I trust.
1 If you are trusting your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious, and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?

2 Of yourself, you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?

3 God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice Which speaks for Him thinks as He does.

4 Today we will try to reach past your own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin as usual by repeating today's idea. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself,

5 God is the Strength in which I trust.

6 Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy. It is obvious that any situation that causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, since otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation successfully. It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.

7 The recognition of your own frailty is a necessary step in the correction of your errors, but it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that your confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances.

8 In the latter phase of the practice period, try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a deep peace, however briefly. Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.

9 Repeat the idea for today often. Use it as your answer to any disturbance. Remember that peace is your right because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.

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Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
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Text
Chapter 4
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The Root of All Evil

VII. The Constant State
81 It cannot be emphasized too often that correcting perception is merely a temporary expedient. It is necessary to do so only because misperception is a block to knowledge, while accurate perception is a stepping-stone towards it. The whole value of right perception lies in the inevitable judgment which it entails that it is unnecessary. This removes the block entirely. You may ask how this is possible as long as you appear to be living in this world, and since this is a sensible question, it has a sensible answer. You must be careful, however, that you really understand the question. What is the "you" who are living in this world?

82 Immortality is a constant state. It is as true now as it ever was or ever will be because it implies no change at all. It is not a continuum nor is it understood by being compared to an opposite. Knowledge never involves comparisons. That is its essential difference from everything else the mind can grasp. "A little knowledge" is not dangerous except to the ego. Vaguely it senses threat, and being unable to realize that "a little knowledge" is a meaningless phrase since "all" and "a little" in this context are the same, the ego decides that, since "all" is impossible, the fear does not lie there. "A little," however, is a scarcity concept, and this the ego understands well. "A little," then, is perceived as the real threat.

83 The essential thing to remember is that the ego does not recognize the real source of its perceived threat, and if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not perceive the whole situation as it is. Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you.

84 We have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourselves as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or more properly, as long as you believe that you are here.

85 The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourselves. Your other life has continued without interruption and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate. The ratio of repression and dissociation varies with the individual ego-illusion, but dissociation is always involved or you would not believe that you are here. In learning to escape from the illusions you have made, your great debt to each other is something you must never forget. It is exactly the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you react egotistically towards each other, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce.

86 The term "holy" can be used here because as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception ever can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever. You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of your egos for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that your choice in turning to me is the only sane one you can make. No one who has learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs much conditioning.

87 The ego cannot withstand the conditioning process because the process itself demonstrates that there is another way. Conditioning by rewards has always been more effective than conditioning by pain because pain is an ego-illusion and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. Since this recognition is made by you and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted the difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The very fact that you are preoccupied with the idea of escaping from the ego shows this.

88 You cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it. Remember that the ego and the Soul do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it utilizes repression against all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your willingness to use the device that enables it to endure.

89 My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You have been chosen to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego. I repeat that I do not choose God's channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust and always approves my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His. I have told you before that I am in charge of the whole Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man and can now complete it through other men. My chosen receiving and sending channels cannot fail because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.

90 I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception, He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to each other is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. A little knowledge is an all-encompassing thing. If you are grateful to each other, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude, you can come to know each other, and one moment of real recognition makes all men your brothers because they are all of your Father. Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. Because you are all the Kingdom of God, I can lead you back to your own creations, which you do not yet know. What has been dissociated is still there.

91 As you come closer to a brother, you do approach me and, as you withdraw from him, I become distant to you. Your giant step forward was to insist on a "collaborative venture." This does not go against the true spirit of meditation; it is inherent in it. Meditation is a collaborative venture with God. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them, and you will be ready to hear God as you hear them. That is because the function of love is one.

92 How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it and bring it near very slowly, so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This conditions him to associate his misery with its absence and to associate the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth.

93 I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the Soul. You have conditioned yourselves the other way around. A far greater reward, however, will break through any conditioning if it is repeatedly offered whenever the old habit pattern is broken. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 47
God is the Strength in which I trust.
So much of our lives we live in a state of apprehension, anxiety, and fear. Jesus says it is because no matter how much we think we can control and manage the events of our lives, we can never be certain about anything. We can never be aware of all facets of any problem, circumstance, or situation, such that only good will come from them. Is it any wonder we are anxious and fearful? Is it any wonder we have trouble making decisions? Everything we try to do in the world is tinged with fear. We become so used to this underlying anxiety that we generally don't even notice it, or we may have become very good at covering it over with positive thoughts. Yet notice it we must, if we are to bring about healing that will lead to deep peace.
 
"No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected. There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego's thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The 'dynamics' of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth." (T.11.V.1.1-6) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.39)
 
I was going through the to-do list for my day, and there were a myriad of things on this list I wanted to accomplish. When I tuned into my feelings, I noticed a low level of fear around everything. Even small daily things like what I should make for dinner, how to write this commentary, how to be helpful to my ailing mother, questions about my diet and health, what to pack for my trip, how to invest my money, and what priorities were essential to attend to today, were all tinged with anxiety. All of it brings a level of apprehension about my inability to know what to do in order that only good would come from it for all. Jesus addresses this when he asks us this series of questions: "What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?" (W.47.1.2-5) We try hard to maintain confidence in our strength and ability, but deep down, when we get honest with ourselves, we realize we can't know and predict positive outcomes in any situation with perfect trust and confidence. Thus, we are anxious and fearful all the time.
 
Jesus says, "It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot." (M.10.2.1) "In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?" (M.10.3.3-7) While we try to predict and control outcomes, as long as we put trust in our weakness, which is to rely on our separate selves, we will feel fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. "Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe?" (W.47.2.3)
 
We work hard to shore up our self-image and our confidence; and when we fail at managing the events of our lives, we do everything we can to enhance our skills and abilities so we can have more confidence in ourselves and feel more capable in the future. If we aren't doing well with this, we look for books and tapes, therapists, and supporters, who will assure us of our abilities and enhance our skills to manage our lives better. Yet what Jesus is basically doing here is undermining our abilities and asking us to question them. He wants us to realize we can't rely on our own strength with any confidence. Instead of inflating our self-confidence, maintaining we can handle it all, relying on our own strength, and denying all our insecurities, he asks us to acknowledge our fears and bring them to the light. When you admit your fears and recognize your own frailties, he says you have taken ". . . a necessary step in the correction of your errors." (W.47.6.1) However, while this is a first step , ". . . it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need, and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances." (W.47.6.1-2)
 
When we look at our fears and frailties and bring them to the healing light of the Holy Spirit, His strength replaces our weakness. His strength is always there in our right minds and always available. When we stop putting our trust in the ego and turn to the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, we release our dependence on our limited self that feels all alone in the world, believing it can only rely on itself, trusting no one. When our minds are aligned with the Truth in us, we can look at our frailties from above the battleground and smile at the silliness of believing our own strength has any power. "Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?" (M.4.I.2.2) This seems to be what we are trying to do all the time but at a high cost to our peace of mind. We dismiss the true Power always available in our own minds and instead give power to people, objects, and circumstances to shore up our lives. This makes us feel weak, frail, and fearful.
 
We lack the sense of certainty and safety that can only come from God. "His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection." (W.47.3.2) Further, we are told there are no exceptions in this. There is nowhere God is not. Why would I withhold any aspect of my life and continue to believe in my strength and my ability to handle everything on my own? Don't we take pride in our independence and in our control? Isn't that something we have nurtured and nourished over a long time? Don't we believe we can somehow manage, manipulate, and control everything on behalf of our happiness? Let's look honestly and courageously at the outcomes that our way has brought.
 
We are called to be humble and admit we have been wrong in the way we have set things up. We are given an alternative by replacing our own sense of confidence with an infinitely stronger foundation. God is our safety in every circumstance. There are absolutely no exceptions to this, but to realize this, we have to bring our dark ego thoughts to the light. We need to look at situations in our lives, which we have invested with fear. Only by admitting our fear, our anxiety, our weaknesses, and our deep uncertainty, can they be dismissed. When we are joined with the Holy Spirit, everything we do will be aligned with His strength. Everything we do will be an expression of His Love. His guidance is always there, but as long as we are listening to the voice of the ego, the guidance of the Holy Spirit will not be heard.
 
When we are aligned with Him, we move easily through every seeming challenge. Work no longer feels like such an effort. Our confidence now is warranted. It is based on trust. Every challenge becomes an opportunity to learn peace. Every grievance becomes an opportunity to choose love. This is consistent with the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of John, where he says, "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me . . . apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)
 
Unless we surrender to His strength in us, we will rely on our own strength. We will stubbornly insist we know. We will continue to trust in our own ability, to stand on our own two feet, to proudly take personal responsibility, and place all of our focus on our self-reliance. Haven't we all had that reinforced in us in our upbringing? Does it feel like we are now asked to give up what we have so carefully nurtured and applauded all of our lives---our self-sufficiency?
 
Yes, we have come to accept our individuality as a prized possession. It is what the separation is all about. To be born again is to realize that our way has brought us anxiety, depression, fear, stress, and, ultimately, a sense of aloneness, sadness, and meaninglessness. "What is it all for," we ask? "Why can't I experience success no matter how hard I try?" Or, "Why does happiness constantly elude me?" Or, "Why don't my relationships bring me joy?"
 
This Lesson makes it clear that peace and joy can never be apart from our connection with God. Strength is in us, covered over by our false beliefs held in the mind that thinks it knows something.
 
It is such a relief when we finally admit that we don't know and accept there is Something in us that does know. We don't have to do this alone. The thing is, we never make any decision alone. We make it either by turning to the ego or relying on the Holy Spirit. It is one or the other. One keeps us in the cycle of birth and death and the other takes us to the recognition of eternal life. The strength of God in us can be trusted. What it takes is a willingness to look at our ego thought system and bring our anxieties, depression, expectations, needs, lacks, desires, and problems to the light, so we can experience the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Recognizing our weakness is a necessary start. "There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides." (W.47.7.4-6)
 
In the practice periods, "Today we will try to reach past our own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin, as usual, by repeating the idea for the day. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself: God is the Strength in which I trust ." (W.47.4.1-5)
 
Now sink down in your mind, beneath all your worry thoughts which are based on your sense of inadequacy. Reach down below these thoughts to the quiet place where God's strength lives in you. Imagine sinking down beneath the noisy thoughts on the surface of the mind to the peaceful depths where all is still. "You will recognize that you have reached it [this place] if you feel a sense of deep peace, however briefly ." (W.47.7.2) With any disturbance that comes up today, remind yourself, " God is the Strength in which I trust. " (W.47) It is a great antidote to fear and a great way to refuse to listen to the ego's fears.
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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