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"What for?"

78 This is the question which you must learn to ask in connection with everything your mind wishes to undertake. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, you cannot doubt that it will channelize your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort, a decision which will remain in effect unless you change the decision.
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 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
Original Edition
TEXT
Chapter 4
The Root of All Evil

VI. The Ego-Body Illusion
par 69-80
[PAUSED FOR WEEKEND]
69 All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego's judgment. Control is a central factor in what the ego permits into consciousness and one to which it devotes its maximum vigilance. This is not the way a balanced mind holds together. Its control is unconscious. The ego is further off balance by keeping its primary motivation unconscious and raising control rather than sensible judgment to predominance. The ego has every reason to do this according to the thought system which gave rise to it and which it serves. Sane judgment would inevitably judge against the ego and must be obliterated by the ego in the interest of its self-preservation.

70 A major source of the ego's off-balanced state is its lack of discrimination between impulses from God and from the body. Any thought system which makes this confusion must be insane. Yet this demented state is essential to the ego, which judges only in terms of threat or non-threat to itself. In one sense the ego's fear of the idea of God is at least logical, since this idea does dispel the ego. Fear of dissolution from the Higher Source, then, makes some sense in ego-terms. But fear of the body, with which the ego identifies so closely, is more blatantly senseless.

71 The body is the ego's home by its own election. It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe, because the body's vulnerability is its own best argument that you cannot be of God. This is the belief that the ego sponsors eagerly. Yet the ego hates the body because it does not accept the idea that the body is good enough to be its home. Here is where the mind becomes actually dazed. Being told by the ego that it is really part of the body and that the body is its protector, the mind is also constantly informed that the body can not protect it. This, of course, is not only accurate but perfectly obvious.

72 Therefore the mind asks, "Where can I go for protection?" to which the ego replies, "Turn to me." The mind, and not without cause, reminds the ego that it has itself insisted that it is identified with the body, so there is no point in turning to it for protection. The ego has no real answer to this because there is none, but it does have a typical solution. It obliterates the question from the mind's awareness. Once unconscious, the question can and does produce uneasiness, but it cannot be answered because it cannot be asked. This is the question which must be asked: "Where am I to go for protection?" Even the insane ask it unconsciously, but it requires real sanity to ask it consciously.

73 When the Bible says, "Seek and ye shall find," it does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized, and consciously directed. The goal must be formulated clearly and kept in mind. As a teacher with some experience, let me remind you that learning and wanting to learn are inseparable. All learners learn best when they believe that what they are trying to learn is of value to them. However, values in this world are hierarchical, and not everything you may want to learn has lasting value.

74 Indeed, many of the things you want to learn are chosen because their value will not last. The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal because the eternal must come from God. Eternalness is the one function which the ego has tried to develop but has systematically failed. It may surprise you to learn that had the ego wished to do so it could have made the eternal because, as a product of the mind, it is endowed with the power of its own creator. However, the decision to do this, rather than the ability to do it, is what the ego cannot tolerate. That is because the decision, from which the ability would naturally develop, would necessarily involve accurate perception, a state of clarity which the ego, fearful of being judged truly, must avoid.

75 The results of this dilemma are peculiar, but no more so than the dilemma itself. The ego has reacted characteristically here as elsewhere because mental illness, which is always a form of ego involvement, is not a matter of reliability as much as of validity. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues that touch on the real question in any way. By compromising in connection with all tangential questions, it hopes to hide the real question and keep it out of mind. The ego's characteristic busyness with non-essentials is for precisely that purpose.

76 Consider the alchemist's age-old attempts to turn base metal into gold. The one question which the alchemist did not permit himself to ask was, "What for?" He could not ask this because it would immediately become apparent that there was no sense in his efforts even if he succeeded. If gold became more plentiful, its value would decrease, and his own purpose would be defeated. The ego has countenanced some strange compromises with the idea of the eternal, making many odd attempts to relate the concept to the unimportant in an effort to satisfy the mind without jeopardizing itself. Thus, it has permitted minds to devote themselves to the possibility of perpetual motion, but not to perpetual thoughts.

77 Ideational preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are also favorite ego devices for impeding the strong-willed from making real learning progress. The problems of squaring the circle and carrying pi to infinity are good examples. A more recent ego attempt is particularly noteworthy. The idea of preserving the body by suspension, thus giving it the kind of limited immortality which the ego can tolerate, is among its more recent appeals to the mind. It is noticeable, however, that in all these diversionary tactics, the one question which is never asked by those who pursue them is, "What for?"

78 This is the question which you must learn to ask in connection with everything your mind wishes to undertake. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, you cannot doubt that it will channelize your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort, a decision which will remain in effect unless you change the decision.

79 Psychologists are in a good position to realize that the ego is capable of making and accepting as real some very distorted associations. The confusion of sex with aggression and the resulting behavior, which is perceived as the same for both, serves as an example. This is "understandable" to the psychologist and does not produce surprise. The lack of surprise, however, is not a sign of understanding. It is a symptom of the psychologist's ability to accept as reasonable a compromise which is clearly senseless—to attribute it to the mental illness of the patient rather than his own and to limit his questions about both the patient and himself to the trivial.

80 Such relatively minor confusions of the ego are not among its more profound misassociations, although they do reflect them. Your egos have been blocking the more important questions which your minds should ask. You do not understand a patient while you yourselves are willing to limit the questions you raise about his mind because you are also accepting these limits for yours. This makes you unable to heal him and yourselves. Be always unwilling to adapt to any situation in which miracle-mindedness is unthinkable. That state in itself is enough to demonstrate that the perception is wrong.
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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 47
God is the Strength in which I trust.
Sarah's Commentary:
 
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.

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Love and blessings, Sarah

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Allen Watson's
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is:

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